Here is something I share with the Catechumen in my Orthopraxis Class in my home parish:Prayer is learned only by praying.
A good way to learn how to pray is to use the words of the Lords Prayer. This prayer is the example of pure prayer.
It contains the three elements of prayer: Praising, Thanking, and Asking
(for ourselves in petition and for others in intercession). By putting ourselves into the words of the prayer, we learn what we must pray for the Holy Spirit will reveal it to us.
“For you are in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God really dwells in you…for all who are led by the Spirit are sons of God…when we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is the Spirit Himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God… for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes with us with sighs too deep for words…” (Romans
An excellent prayer rule that is simple to follow is the use of the Antiochian Archdiocese’s little Prayer Book. It has divided a short prayer cycle to be used three times a day that includes an abbreviated morning, noon, and evening prayers.
To those who wish a slightly more complicated rule but is still developed for those in a busy industrial society, you may wish to use the prayer rule of St. Seraphim of Sarov:
" 1)Upon rising from sleep, let each Christian, standing before the holy icons, read the prayer "Our Father" thrice, in honor of the Most Holy Trinity.
2) Then the song of the Mother of God: "Rejoice, O Virgin Theotokos Mary, full of grace…" also thrice.
3) In conclusion the Creed: "I believe…" — once. Completing such a rule, let each Orthodox engage in his duties, to which he is assigned or called. During his work at home or along the way anywhere he should quietly say "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me, a sinner," but if others surround him, then, while busy with his duties, let him only say in his mind "Lord, have mercy," — and thus until lunch. Right before lunch let him repeat the morning rule. After lunch, busy with his work, let every Christian say just as quietly: "Most Holy Mother of God, save me, a sinner." When preparing for sleep, let every Christian again read the morning rule, i.e., "Our Father" thrice, "Rejoice, O Virgin Theotokos Mary" thrice and once "I believe."
St. Seraphim explained that, keeping to this small "rule," one may attain a measure of Christian perfection, because these three prayers — are the foundation of Christianity. The first, as the prayer given by the Lord Himself, is the pattern for all prayers. The second was brought from Heaven by the Archangel as he greeted the Mother of God. The Creed contains in itself all the important dogmas of the Christian faith.The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, Who art in the heavens, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.Hymn to the Most-holy Theotokos
O Theotokos and Virgin, rejoice, Mary full of grace, the Lord is with Thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, for thou hast borne the Savior of our souls.The Symbol of our Faith
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages; Light of Light; true God of true God; begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father; by Whom all things were made; Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from the heavens, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man; And was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried; And arose again on the third day according to the Scriptures; And ascended into the heavens, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father; And shall come again, with glory, to judge both the living and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end. And in the Holy spirit, the Lord, the Giver of life; Who proceedeth from the Father; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the prophets. In One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the age to come. Amen.Memorizing the Psalms.
It is good, very good, to memorize several psalms and recite them while you are working or between tasks, doing this instead of short prayers sometimes, with concentration. This is one of the most ancient Christian customs, mentioned by and included in the rules of St. Pachomius and St. Anthony.
Which psalms should you memorize? Memorize the ones that strike your heart as you are reading them. Each person will find different psalms to be more effective for himself. Begin with Have mercy on me, O God (Psalm 50); then Bless the Lord, O my soul (Psalm 102); and Praise the Lord, O my Soul (Psalm 145). These latter two are the antiphon hymns in the Liturgy. There are also the psalms in the Canon for Divine Communion: The Lord is my shepherd (Psalm 22); The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof (Psalm 23); I believed, wherefore I spake (Psalm 115); and the first psalm of the evening vigil, O God, be attentive unto helping me (Psalm 69). I hope that you will find this helpful; as you develop a personal prayer rule with your spiritual father.