Before you try to put these into practice, make sure you read my “My short introduction to constant prayer” first.
1) St. Moses the black (-405)
To live with Jesus you need – struggle, humility and unceasing prayer. These are your tools for the hard road ahead.
2) St Isaac the Syrian (-700):
Without unceasing prayer it is impossible to draw closer to God.
3) St Gregory Palamas (-1059)
Let no one think, my brother Christians, that it is the duty only of priests and monks to pray without ceasing, and not of laymen. No, no; it is the duty of all of us Christians to remain always in prayer.
4) St Theophan the Recluse (-1894)
Paul commands mental or spiritual prayer for all Christians without exception. He also orders all Christians to pray unceasingly. To pray unceasingly is only possible in the heart. Therefore it is impossible to contest the fact that noetic prayer is compulsory for all Christians, and if it is obligatory, then it is also possible – God does not command the impossible.
5) St Paisios of Mt Athos (-1994)
The soul must be constantly ready and alert and always in contact with the spiritual headquarters, that is, God. Only then it will feel secure, full of hope and joy. When I was in the army, during the war, I was a radio operator. I noticed that we felt secure only when we communicated with the Army Division on an hourly basis. When our communication was limited to every two hours, we felt a little bit insecure; sometimes, when we could only be in touch with them twice a day, we felt uncomfortable, lonely and lost. The same thing applies to our prayer. The more we pray, the more secure we feel, on a spiritual basis, of course.
6) What St Theophan the Recluse’s spiritual guide told him (1)
The staretz said to us, “You learned monks, … you are going to work and learn and write, but you must remember above all that the most necessary thing on earth is to pray to God, to pray unceasingly with your whole heart and your whole mind. This must be the goal you will search for without interruption.” A monk must start by speaking the prayer aloud, then without uttering any sound until it springs silently from him day and night.
7) What a Palestinian monk said:
With the same idea in mind a Palestinian monk of the seventh century, Antiochus of the Monastery of St. Sabbas, alludes to the words of Ecclesiastes 3:1-7: “To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under Heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die… a time to weep, and a time to laugh.. a time to keep silence and a time to speak.” And Antiochus comments, “There is a proper time for everything except prayer: as for prayer, its proper time is always.”
8) St Theophan the Recluse (-1894)
Why is it, you ask, that one can pray for so many years with a prayer book, and still not have prayer in his heart? I think the reason is that people only spend a little time lifting themselves up to God when they complete their prayer rule, and in other times, they do not remember God. For example, they finish their morning prayers, and think that their relation to God is fulfilled by them; then the whole day passes in work, and such a person does not attend to God. Then in the evening, the thought returns to him that he must quickly stand at prayer and complete his evening rule.
In this case, it happens that even if the Lord grants a person spiritual feelings at the time of the morning prayer, the bustle and business of the day drowns them out. As a result, it happens that one does not often feel like praying, and cannot get control of himself even to soften his heart a little bit. In such an atmosphere, prayer develops and ripens poorly. This problem (is it not ubiquitous?) needs to be corrected, that is, one must ensure that the soul does not only make petition to God when standing in prayer, but during the whole day, as much as possible, one must unceasingly ascend to Him and remain with Him.
9) Elder Joseph the Hescyhast (-1959)
Just as a man dies when he stops breathing, so too, does the soul die without continuous and endless prayer.
10) St Tikhon of Zadonsk (-1783)
Prayer does not consist merely in standing and bowing your body or in reading written prayers…. it is possible to pray at all times, in all places, with mind and spirit. You can lift up your mind and heart to God while walking, sitting, working, in a crowd and in solitude. His door is always open, unlike man’s. We can always say to Him in our hearts Lord, Lord have mercy.”