The first thing we must think about is : God, teach us how to pray (Luke 11, 1).
Our prayers are liked by God and fruitful only when we ask for what is really necessary and useful for our souls. But many times we don`t know what we need for salvation and for this reason we must ask God: `Teach us how to pray.` The Saviour teaching us how to pray said: when you pray enter your room and after closing the door pray to your Father (Matthew 6, 6).
The room is our heart; if we want to pray as it is right we should chase away from our heart any worldly worry and raise all our love to God. The prayers uttered only with our lips and not from all our heart and soul don`t reach the ear of God. God pays attention not as much at our words as at the broken and humble heart. Sometimes a single sigh coming out from a pure soul and heart is more pleasing to God than the long reading of the prayers where only the lips speak and the heart remains cold and mute. The Holy Apostle teaches us: I want to say five words with my mind…instead of tens of thousands of words with my tongue (I Corinthians 14, 19),
The true prayer from our heart is always humble. It hopes only in God`s mercy and grace without putting any price on the personal endeavors and without finding any merit for itself
It is childish, simple, believes all, has boldness, it is like the cry of the child to his beloved father. Saint Tikhon prayed with tears of repentance : `Father, have mercy on me!` Kind God have mercy on me!`
This is the true prayer from the heart. It expresses in the same time the recognition of our personal helplessness, the bold trust in the almighty help of God, the true love for God and the strong and vivid faith in Him.
To reach a pure prayer we must gain all these virtues. This is not easy, it is a special gift from God. The prayer doesn`t say it in vain: `God give me tears of repentance.` For this reason we should ask first : `God teach us how to pray.`
This is not given to us at once but gradually. At the beginning it is a toil and afterwards you get used with it and it becomes a delight.
That is why we must pray more often and without being idle. That is why the monachal routine is necessary: accomplish it without idleness and you will get the habit and love for prayer.
The ceaseless prayer is indispensable as we are always tempted by the enemy. But how can we pray without cease? According to the teaching of the holy fathers and ascetics it doesn`t mean that we must stay all the time at prayer and make bows but we must keep all the time in our mind or on our lips the remembrance of God and of His Holy Saints. If we make bows and our thoughts wander if we pray only with our body and with our mind we think of the earthly matters our toil is in vain like the tree without fruit.
Make your prayer immediately after you wake up in the morning. Do not go out anywhere without prayer not even in the hall after water. If you work with your hands or walk, keep all the time on your lips the prayer: `Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me the sinner.` `Holy Mother of God, our Intercessor, have mercy with me the worthless. Angel of God my kind protector do not go away of me.`
The hands should work and the lips, the mind and heart should pray. We can also pray when we speak with the others as long as our discussions are not vain: the name of God pronounced with piety is a prayer too. If a suffering will come to you, do not protest and do not complain, but fall on your knees before God and pray with tears: `God, I deserve to suffer `.
Do not think that you can`t pray when troubled but say instead: I have the duty to pray even if I don`t want and pray. By this you will find peace and comfort. In this way it is possible to pray without cease.
From the spiritual teachings of elder Varnava.