The Lenten Prayer of Saint Ephraim the Syrian

“Of all lenten hymns and prayers, one short prayer can be termed  the lenten prayer. Tradition ascribes it to one of the great teachers of spiritual life – St. Ephrem the Syrian. Here is its text:

O Lord and Master of my life!

Take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness, lust of power, and idle talk.

But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant.

Yea, O Lord and King! Grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother;

For Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.

This prayer is read twice at the end of each lenten service Monday through Friday (not on Saturdays and Sundays for, as we shall see later, the services of these days do not follow the lenten pattern). At the first reading, a prostration follows each petition. Then we all bow twelve times saying: “O God, cleanse me a sinner.” The entire prayer is repeated with one final prostration at the end.  “

(Fr. Alexander Schmemann, quoted at: – this short article is well worth a read!)

Saint Ephraim the Syrian

Saint Ephraim the Syrian

A Prayer for the Beginning of Great Lent

We give thanks unto Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, that Thou hast brought us this present time of fasting unto salvation, so as to heal the great wounds of our souls in a short span, seeking to lift from us the burden of our many sins; and we pray Thee, O All-Good One:

drive far from us all Pharisaic hypocrisy in our fasting, and root out from us hypocritical gloom;

make us not arrogant in our abstinence;

keep us from doing that which is forbidden, and from an idle tongue and mind.

Fill us with the brightness and truth which Thou hast commanded;

give us strength to fight off the passions, and make us mighty in the war against sin.

By alienation from passions, prepare us to follow Thee, Who hast shewn us victory over the devil through fasting, so that we may become partakers of Thy death and Resurrection, and be nourished by Thine eternal sweetness, which Thou hast made ready for them that hunger and thirst for Thy righteousness.

Strengthen Thy community by fasting and by faith in Thee, and grant strength against the onslaught of enemies.

For Thou art the God of mercies, and to Thee belongeth glory, together with the Father and Thine All-Holy, and Good, and Life-creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.