When I was going through my darkest of days as a "Protestant" and "Charismatic," nothing and nobody could help me. I was in turmoil and depression about my faith and my spiritual/personal life. I didn't know what the Orthodox Church was, but I was reading The Way of A Pilgrim which I had found while browsing at B. Dalton. I worked and came home and was depressed. I used to sit by my window and pray the Jesus prayer. I had never seen a prayer rope, but I made my own out of a piece of cotton rope. It was about 18 inches long and had about twelve large knots spaced far apart. Just for those moments I would sit there and pray the Jesus prayer, things would seem to lighten a bit, like the darkness was pushing back from me. It would always come back, but for those times I felt free. I was not "practicing the Jesus prayer," I had no form or method, and I wasn't trying to say a certain number of prayers or meditate or anything. All I could do mentally, spiritually, emotionally, was sit looking out the window and repeat the prayer slowly. I am not a hesychast, you know! But I found relief, and I sought the context of that prayer in the Orthodox Church, in the phone book. That was five years ago. I have been in the Church four years and I have not had the same darkness. If I do, I know what I will do again.
Regards in Christ,