Prayer is conversation with God. The conversation is very personal, so it is better to pray alone, when no one sees you. This does not exclude prayer, and in other places, you can pray (silently, in my mind) even in public transport or walking down a crowded street. However, for the deepest need of prayer, silence and solitude.
Well, if you have the icon, but it is not required. The conversation between man and God is through the heart, so there's nothing that could interfere with this communication – and that could significantly help. Praying before the icon, remember, do not pray to her, and the one whose image it captures.
To start the prayer it is best to choose the late evening. You are alone in the room, the light muted. Can turn it off and light a candle. Remember the main point: in conversation with God is not words, but feelings. God understands you without words, so don't give them too much importance. Just tell Him what bothers you.
Should you read the well-known prayer or is it better to use your words? There is no single answer, you can use both. Is that your prayer was not a mechanical – try to feel every word, understand it, comprehend it.
In conversation with God, be sincere. Unacceptable no false, because God already knows everything about you. Do not try artificially to bring in some prayer exalted feelings, it is wrong. If you feel that your prayer is dry and empty, ask God to help you to learn to pray, this is the best option.
Do not pursue long-winded. The most simple words, uttered with feeling, will bring you closer to God more than the lengthy but mechanical prayer. Most try to stand before God in complete internal silence is the most precious moments – many people can not feel His presence because of their own verbosity. Not by accident in the way of prayer the ascension of man to God the Supreme is the silent prayer when the man silently will Him with all your being.
How to pray aloud or silently? Appropriate both. Feel the need to turn to God out loud, and act. Want to pray silently, let it be so. It should be noted that the monks practicing the Jesus prayer ("Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner (sinner)", first, repeat it aloud to myself later. But even at the higher stages of prayer feat they do not consider it shameful to pray out loud. So just listen to yourself and pray as you like.
Where better to pray in the Church or outside its walls? And here, too, there is no definite answer. The Church helps people the most with its atmosphere, namolennye place. At the same time, many people in the Church are timid, feel yourself unable to openly Express feelings in the presence of other believers. In this case, will be the most sincere prayer performed alone.
How to understand that prayer is answered? Talking with God, the person usually tries to tell Him about their troubles and sorrows. The soul at the same time is very hard. However, at some point in praying suddenly experiencing the amazing feeling it becomes much easier, from the soul drops like a stone. A person can feel peace, joy, understanding arises, what he heard.
To reach the prayer in some high States can not at once. Moreover, the desire for unusual experiences is a big mistake. On the way of prayer, there are many traps, they get those who are not able to get rid of the pride, in whom is no humility. To understand possible errors should read the books of the Holy fathers. For example, the "Ascetic experience" Ignatius Brianchaninov, "My life in Christ" John of Kronstadt, "the words of the ascetic" Isaac the Syrian.