Everything is acquired through prayer, the Elder used to say. You’re now approaching the first step, yet you haven’t claimed it but just getting close. You have to pass through the door and by no effort of our own one can enter but only through the mercy of God. Therefore we must first ask: “The door of compassion open to me oh Lord, thy unworthy servant!”

 When you are sad or grieve cry out, “Lord, spare me, save me, and have mercy on Thy servant!” At any time and whatever you may do, whether sitting, walking or working, say wholeheartedly “Lord, have mercy!”

 When you’re in great pain and feel that cannot endure, run to the Lord, His Holy Mother, St. Nicholas and your patron saint, and the pain will ease.

 In various misfortunes the Elder counseled us on praying: “Lord, I believe that I endure whatever I deserved to receive. But you oh Lord in Thy great mercy, forgive me and have compassion on me” – and repeat these words until you feel peace in your soul.

The Elder wound say, ‘There are people, who never cry out to God, they do not pray. But when melancholy enters their soul, the mind is filled with grief and the heart with anguish.  In this dire condition, man feels that no one can listen or help him, or can understand his pain’.

Then man turns to God and cry out sobbingly: “Lord, have mercy on me,” and the Lord hears him, but at first man feels this grace scarcely, then more intensely until he gets relief.

(Elder/ Staret Nektarios of Optina)