Outside the Church services, Fr. Seraphim would strive to remember God by saying the Jesus Prayer throughout the day, whether while working, resting, or taking a walk. The brothers were reminded to do likewise. From the very beginning of the skete’s existence, Fathers Seraphim and Herman had instituted the traditional monastic practice of saying the Jesus Prayer aloud whenever entering a room. This practice had been followed by the monks of ancient times in order to foil the tricks of demons, who were known to enter the cells of desert-dwellers without warning.
We have already mentioned that Fathers Seraphim and Herman, in the tradition of Bishop Nektary, carried out the private “Optina Five-hundred” cell rule of prayer in addition to the regular Church services. Fr. Seraphim performed this rule primarily at night, before the icon corner in his cell, with its blue oil lamp burning softly before the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God. He kept a stump in his cell, which, as he noted in his Chronicle, was “in remembrance of St. Seraphim’s stump, for Jesus Prayer.” During his times of private devotions, he would pour out his heart before our Lord Jesus Christ, and also before His Most Pure Mother, for whom, as we have seen, he had an especially great love. Only the dwellers of heaven know how often he sighed, wept, and prostrated himself before the holy images in the silent solitude of his forest cell.
—Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works, 605