Before the advent of printing, prayer books were written by hand and were often richly decorated with initials and miniature illustrations telling stories in the lives of Christ or the saints, or stories from the Bible. Because of the cost involved, such prayer books were usually only used by clergy, monastics, or the wealthy.
With the advent of printing, prayer books became accessible to the average laymen and have been an important aspect of Orthodox piety ever since.
Prayer books available in English
The Jordanville Prayer book: good translation (for the most part) and reasonably complete. It uses the Psalter According to the Seventy produced by Holy Transfiguration Monastery. For ROCOR parishioners, this is the best one to use, because of the translation. The edition currently available is the work of Fr. Lawrence (Campbell). This book is very similar to the one published by Holy Transfiguration. The main difference is that there are many additional morning and evening prayers.
A Prayer Book for Orthodox Christians (translated from the Greek and published by Holy Transfiguration Monastery): follows Greek usage, though its order for the morning prayers is not the one found in typical Greek prayer books.
An Orthodox Prayer Book (bilingual; modern English translation by Archimandrite Ephrem (Lash) from the Greek and published by Oxford University Press): follows the standard settings of Greek morning prayers, evening prayers and small Compline as found in the Synekdimos. This translation is harmonious with the Oxford University Press edition of the Divine Liturgy (published with the blessing of the Ecumenical Patriarch) and with the wide range of liturgical material published on Fr Ephrem's web-site.
The Old Orthodox Prayer Book, or as it is commonly referred to, "The Old Believer Prayer Book": This prayer book has a lot of useful instructional material, and a lot of services that are set up such that they can be done as reader services (such as a Moleben). It also has the Slavonic text and the English text on facing pages. The disadvantage to it is the Slavonic text is not the standard text used by the Church (being the Old Rite) and so it differs in wording and often in structure. Nevertheless, it is quite useful. This prayer book was produced for use by the Old Rite community in Erie, Pennsylvania (ROCOR).
The St. Tikhon's Orthodox Prayer book (Slavonic/English Edition): This prayer book is particularly useful in parishes in which both English and Slavonic are used.
The Pocket Prayer Book for Orthodox Christians, published by the Antiochian Archdiocese, is a popular, but more abbreviated version of the Prayer Book, though it contains some prayers not typically included in other prayer books.