Many good works are required of a Christian, but it is prayer that must come first and foremost, for without prayer no other good work can be performed and one cannot find the way to the Lord. Truth cannot be acquired, the flesh with its passions and lusts cannot be crucified, the heart cannot be filled with the light of Christ and united with Him, through salvation, unless these are preceded by frequent prayer. I say frequent, because the proper way to pray and to attain to perfect prayer lies beyond our abilities. The apostle Paul says: ‘For we do not know how to pray as we ought’ [Rom. 8: 26]. Consequently, it is only the frequency and regularity of prayer that lie within our abilities, as the means of attaining to pure prayer, which is the mother of all spiritual blessings. ‘Acquire the mother and she will bear you children,’ says Saint Isaac the Syrian. First learn to pray, and then you will easily perform all the good works. This is not obvious to those who lack a living experience of prayer and the knowledge of the mystical teachings of the Fathers, so they say very little about it.”
Cleary, Thomas. The Way of a Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way (Kindle Locations 197-204). Shambhala. Kindle Edition.