I also like the prayer rule of St. Seraphim of Sarov. Usually, I add a few other prayers that I know by heart and sometimes these three:
1 PRAYER OF SAINT EPHRAIM THE SYRIAN
O Lord and Master of my life, give me not the spirit of sloth, meddling, lust for power and idle talk.
But grant unto me, Thy servant, a spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love.
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see mine own faults and not to judge my brother.
For blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen.
2 Morning Prayer of the Optina Elders
Grant unto me, O Lord, that with peace of mind I may face all that this new day is to bring.
Grant unto me to dedicate myself completely to Thy Holy Will.
For every hour of this day, instruct and support me in all things.
Whatsoever tidings I may receive during the day, do Thou teach me to accept
tranquilly, in the firm conviction that all eventualities fulfill Thy Holy Will.
Govern Thou my thoughts and feelings in all I do and say.
When things unforeseen occur , let me not forget that all cometh down from Thee.
Teach me to behave sincerely and rationally toward every member of my family, that I may bring confusion and sorrow to none.
Bestow upon me, my Lord, strength to endure the fatigue of the day, and to bear my part in all its passing events.
Guide Thou my will and teach me to pray, to believe, to hope, to suffer, to forgive, and to love.
3 Prayer of Philaret, Metropolitan of Moscow (1867)
My Lord, I know not what I ought to ask of Thee.
Thou and Thou alone knowest my needs.
Thou lovest me more than I am able to love Thee.
O Father, grant unto me, Thy servant, all which I cannot ask.
For a cross I dare not ask, nor for consolation;
I dare only to stand in Thy presence.
My heart is open to Thee.
Thou seest my needs of which I myself am unaware.
Behold and lift me up!
In Thy presence I stand,
awed and silenced by Thy will and Thy judgments,
into which my mind cannot penetrate.
To Thee I offer myself as a sacrifice.
No other desire is mine but to fulfill Thy will.
Teach me how to pray.
Do Thyself pray within me.
However, I still love the full morning and evening prayer rules from prayer books. At beginning, you have to force yourself. But then, after a few prayers you really start to pray. The main point is not to read the prayer book but PRAY. You have to make the prayers in the prayer book yours. Again – not just to read them like a poem or mantra but pray. Prayer without attention, humility, reverence, and repentance, is a vain repetition. The words of the true prayer must come from the bottom of your heart, with attention, humility, reverence, and repentance.
As St Isaac the Syrian says:
• Pray with attention – so that we can have a true
encounter with God
• Pray with humility – because this sort of prayer goes
straight to God’s ear
• Pray with affection and tears – with joy and
thanksgiving, but also with true repentance and purity.
• Pray with patience and ardor – ‘to deny oneself’ is
courageously to persevere in prayer.
• Pray from the depths of the heart – even if we pray
using ‘the words of another’ they should be uttered as if
they are our own. St. Isaac says this is especially true
of the Psalms.
• Pray with faith and absolute trust in God – because He knows our life. http://www.orthodoxprayer.org/Daily%20Prayer%20Basics.html
If you do not feel like praying, you have to force yourself. The Holy Fathers say that prayer with force is higher than prayer unforced. You do not want to, but force yourself. The Kingdom of Heaven is taken by force (Matt. 11:12). REF: St. Ambrose of Optina (+1891)
Do not rush one prayer after another but say them with orderly deliberation, as one addressing a great person for a favor. Do not just pay attention to the words, but rather let the mind be in the heart, standing before the Lord in full awareness of His presence, in full consciousness of His greatness and grace and justice. (Theophan the Recluse)
Through the prayer, man is cleansed, brightened, sanctified. REF: Elder Amphilochios of Patmos +1970
...he who loves God cultivates pure prayer, driving out every passion that keeps him from it. St. Maximos the Confessor (Second Century on Love no. 7 Lecture 9 no. 2)
I advise you to convince yourself and force yourself to prayer and every good action, even if you do not feel the desire for it. God seeing such labor and application will give you goodwill and zeal. Such good will and a certain attraction to prayer is often a result of habit. Get into this habit and it will draw you to prayer and good actions. (St. Tikhon of Zadonsk)
If you strive after prayer, prepare yourself for diabolical suggestions and bear patiently their onslaughts; for they will attack you like wild beasts.... Try as much as possible to be humble and courageous. He who endures will be granted great joy. (St. Nilus of Sinai)
Do not spare yourself from heartfelt prayer even when you have spent the whole day in hard work. Do not indulge in laziness when you pray; tell God everything that is in your heart. If you allow yourself time to pray with diligence, you will not fall asleep before you have wept over your sins. Believe that, if for the sake of bodily rest you pray hurriedly, you will lose the tranquility of both body and soul. By what labor, sweat and tears is our closeness to God achieved! (St. John of Kronstadt)
...the Christian, approaching God with a prayer to Him, or to His most pure Mother, or to the angels and saints, in order to insure the success of his prayer, ought to try to resemble as far as possible the Lord Himself, or His most-pure Mother, or the angels and saints. In this lies the secret of drawing near to God, and of His speedily hearing our prayers. St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ, Part 1; Holy Trinity Monastery pgs. 19-20)
Make sure that you do not limit your prayer merely to a particular part of the day. Turn to prayer at anytime. (St. John Chrysostom)
“God listens, not to our voice, but to our heart. He does not need to be prodded with shouts, since He sees our thoughts. St. Cyprian of Carthage
Brethren, let us also occupy yourselves with noetic prayer…, and seeking God’s mercy, cry out with a humble heart from morning till night and if possible all night long, saying constantly: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us.” Saint John Chrysostomhttp://www.orthodox.net/gleanings/prayer.html
Don’t think that you will have any brownie points because you are Orthodox, or because you keep the prayer rule all the time. It’s vanity and self-importance. The key is to pray – with attention, humility, , reverence, and repentance.
Some good links:
St. Theophan the Recluse On Prayer
From the Letters of Bishop Theophan the Reclusehttp://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/theoph_prayer.aspx
THE BASICS OF SPIRITUAL LIFE, BASED ON THE WRITINGS OF ST. IGNATIUS (BRIANCHANINOV)http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/53476.htm
The Goal of Earthly Life: Prayerhttp://www.antiochian.org/node/25512
The Holy Fathers on Prayerhttp://www.roca.org/OA/27/27e.htm