The early monastics known as the “Desert Fathers and Mothers” and wrote a simple Scriptural prayer called the Jesus Prayer, which they taught pilgrims to pray 3,000 times a day. Advanced students could pray it as many as 12,000 times, which takes virtually all day.
The prayer is simply: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” When used regularly, this prayer becomes as automatic and vital as breathing.
Begin by sitting comfortably and setting a timer for between five and 20 minutes. Close your eyes and say the Jesus Prayer silently, connecting it with your breath. Continue to breathe the prayer in and out until the timer rings. As other thoughts surface, release them gently and return to the prayer. You can also use it as a walking meditation. Say the prayer as you walk slowly, connecting the rhythm of your steps with your breath and the mantra. The more you use the Jesus Prayer, the more it prays itself within you.