IF it happens that, as you pray, some word evokes delight or remorse within you, linger over it; for at that moment our guardian angel is praying with us.
St John Climacus, “Ladder of Divine Ascent”, Step 28 (On Prayer).
St Peter Damascene (12th century) gives instructions for daily prayers, listing those which should be said. He indicates a sequence of prayers to be followed one after the other, but not unthinkingly.
EXCEPT to say, that whenever God’s grace pierces the heart with compunction, it is better for us to hold the eye of the heart amidst these streams of compunction.
At the same time, the mouth should take a pause from singing, and the understanding should fall captive in a ‘blessed captivity’, as St Isaac says. For this is a time for harvesting, not for planting (Eccles 3:2).
And for this reason we should remain in these streams, so that our heart be the better pierced through, and bear fruit, in the form of the tears which come from God.
Climacus says, when pierced through with compunction by any word, remain in it.
This is because every bodily action — fasting, I mean, and keeping vigil, psalmody and reading, stillness and the rest — is directed towards the cleansing of the eye of the heart; and the eye of the heart cannot be cleansed without mourning, so that it may be united to God through pure prayer, the prayer which snatches it from all conceptions and renders it without form or figure.
St Peter Damascene, “On the Third Stage of Contemplation”, in the Philokalia, Vol. 3. This is my amateur translation.
O LAMB of God, Who takest away the sins of all, take from me the heavy yoke of sin, and in Thy compassion grant me tears of compunction (John 1:29).
It is time for repentance. I draw near to Thee, my Creator. Take from me the heavy yoke of sin, and in Thy compassion grant me tears of compunction.
Abhor me not, O Savior, cast me not away from Thy face. Take from me the heavy yoke of sin, and in Thy compassion grant me release from my falls.
All my sins, voluntary and involuntary, obvious and secret, known and unknown, forgive, O Savior, for Thou art God; be merciful and save me.
Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete. Translation from St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, Dallas, TX.