Although prayer is a habitual action for us, it needs preparation. For anyone who knows how to read and write, what is more usual than reading and writing? Yet if we sit down to read and write we do not do so suddenly, we first get ourselves into the mood for what we are going to do. This kind of preparation is all the more necessary before we start to pray, particularly if our occupation immediately beforehand was very different from prayer.
So, morning or evening, immediately before you begin to repeat your prayers, stand awhile, sit for awhile, or walk a little and try to steady your mind and turn it away from all worldly activities and objects. After this, think who He is to whom you turn in prayer, then recollect who you are; who it is who is about to start this invocation to Him in prayer. Do this in such a way as to awake in your heart a feeling of humility and reverent awe that your are standing in the presence of God. It is the beginning of prayer, and a good beginning is half the complete task.
St. Theophan the Recluse