Theophan The Recluse: “Prayer itself is the piercing of our hearts”
“Prayer itself is the piercing of our hearts by pious feelings towards God, one after another – feelings of humility, submission, gratitude, doxology, forgiveness, heart-felt prostration, brokenness, conformity to the will of God, etc. All of our effort should be directed so that during our prayers, these feelings and feelings like them should fill our souls, so that the heart would not be empty when the lips are reading the prayers, or when the ears hear and the body bows in prostrations, but that there would be some qualitative feeling, some striving toward God.
When these feelings are present, our praying is prayer, and when they are absent, it is not yet prayer.”
– St. Theophan The Recluse