it is the mother and also the daughter of tears, the propitiation for sins, a bridge over temptations, a wall against afflictions, a crushing of conflicts, work of angels, food of all the spiritual beings, future gladness, boundless activity;
it is the spring of virtues, the source of graces, invisible progress, food of the soul, the enlightening of the mind, an axe for despair, a demonstration of hope, the annulling of sorrow, the wealth of monks, the treasure of solitaries;
it is the reduction of anger, the mirror of progress, the realization of success, a proof of one’s condition, a revelation of the future, a sign of glory.
[…] Let us rise and listen to what that holy queen of the virtues cries with a loud voice and says to us: Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you, and you shall find rest for your souls and healing for your wounds. For My yoke is easy and is a sovereign remedy for great sins.
[…] When you are going to stand before the Lord, let the garment of your soul be woven throughout with the thread that has become oblivious of wrongs. Otherwise, prayer will bring you no benefit.
Let your prayer be completely simple. For both the publican and the prodigal son were reconciled to God by a single phrase.
[…] Before all else let us list sincere thanksgiving first on our prayer-card. On the second line we should put confession, and heartfelt contrition of soul.
Then let us present our petition to the King of all. This is the best way of prayer, as it was shown to one of the brethren by an angel of the Lord.
Do not be over-sophisticated in the words you use when praying, because the simple and unadorned lisping of children has often won the heart of their heavenly Father.
Do not attempt to talk much when you pray lest your mind be distracted in searching for words. One word of the publican propitiated God, and one cry of faith saved the thief.
Loquacity in prayer often distracts the mind and leads to phantasy, whereas brevity makes for concentration.
If you feel sweetness or compunction at some word of your prayer, dwell on it; for then our guardian angel is praying with us.
John Climacus (c.575-c.650): The Ladder of Divine Ascent, step 28 “on prayer”, 1-11, translated by Archimandrite Lazarus Moore (Harper & Brothers, 1959) @ Prudence True.