The Ancient Lenten Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian goes like this:
“O Lord and Master of my life, give me not the spirit of sloth, idle curiosity, lust for power and idle talk. But grant unto me, Thy servant, a spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love. Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see mine own faults and not to judge my brother. For blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen.”
Or, if you want the slightly modernized version:
“O God of all life, give me not the spirit of laziness, idle curiosity, lust for power and idle talk. But grant to me, a spirit of virtue, humility, patience and love. Yes, O God, grant me to see my own faults and not to judge others. For you are mighty… now and forever. Amen.”
Sometimes we can look to an ancient tradition and find deep meaning for our lives to day. This prayer really captures the meaning of this season of the church: Lent (in which we reflect on our lives and seek to be better, healthier, faithful people). The ancients knew how to take TIME to reflect and pray… but we, with our modern fast-paced world, do not. Truly, it is a struggle just to find a few quiet moments… and even harder to take those moments and fill them with reflection, meditation, and prayer.
During Lent, we take on Lenten Discipline. We reflected on prayer the other day, and soon we will reflect on the other two: giving and fasting. But, for today, I wanted to introduce us to an ancient prayer and hopefully, we can make it our own. So, sit back quietly and pray St. Ephraim’s prayer.
After you have done this… take some time and watch this it is a 4 minute video that uses some ancient-style Christian chanting and the words of the prayer. It also has some inspiring words from the Ancient church father: John Chrysostom.
This may not be something we are familiar with… but it is always an inspiring and faith-deepening experience to ‘look to the ancients’