Mister Jim Dude,
You've asked a great question here, and one that cannot be avoided for the Orthodox Christian. Your question, it seems to me, is one essentially about prayer. Let us therefore look at what St. John Chrysostom (The Goldenmouth) has to say to us: "Our spirit should be quick to reach out toward God, not only when it is engaged in meditation; at other times, also, when it is carrying out it's duties, caring for the needy, performing works of charity, giving generously in the service of others, our spirit should long for God and call Him to mind, so that these works may be seasoned with the salt of God's love, and so make a palatable offering to the God of the universe. Throughout the whole of our lives, we may enjoy the benefit that comes from prayer if we devote a great deal of time to it."
So we see from this Holy Father that we are to pray throughout our day and entire lives. In the catechetical book The Law of God
, Archpriest Seraphim Slobodskoy (of blessed memory) tells us,
"If we and those close to us are healthy and safe, if we have a place to live, clothes to wear, food to eat, then we ought to give praise and give thanks to God in our prayers. Such prayers are called praise and thanksgiving
"We make the Sign of the Cross, or "cross ourselves", at the beginning of prayer, during prayer, at the end of prayer, and when we draw near to anything holy: when we enter the church, when we reverence the Cross or an icon. We should cross ourselves at every important moment in our life: in danger, in sorrow, in joy, and so on.
When we cross ourselves, mentally we say, "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Thus, we express our faith in the All-holy Trinity and our desire to live and labor for the glory of God." +
Elder Cleopa of Romania (of blessed memory), when asked about the significance of the Sign of the Cross, had this to say;
"The Christian who is a faithful child of the Church of Christ at the beginning and the end of his work, when setting out to ravel, when confronted with bad news or evil thoughts, and before and after eating his meals makes the sign of the cross upon himself, acquiring thereby the immeasurable power of the True Cross upon which was shed the All-holy Blood of Christ over and against our common enemy the devil."++
We see from various sources within the Holy Traditions of the Orthodox Church, it is incumbent upon all Orthodox Christians to pray and use the Sign of the Cross. We do not do this to boast or show-off, but neither do we refrain out of fear.
I hope this helps you on your journey to Holy Orthodoxy.
If I have miss-spoke, it is out of my ignorance and should not reflect on The Orthodox Church.
*What The Church Fathers Say About... Vol. 1
pg 51 under 'Prayer'.
**The Law of God
by Archpriest Seraphim Slobodskoy (Of blessed memory). Pg 26 under 'Different Types of Prayer'.
+ ibid. Pg 24 under 'The Sign of the Cross'
++The Truth Of Our Faith
by Elder Cleopa of Romania (Of blessed memory). Pg 118 under 'The Sign of the Cross'.