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Tuesday, 16 February 2010

A Lenten Prayer from the East

As we begin our observance of Lent I share a prayer which expresses the spiritual discipline of the season. It is a prayer of St Ephrem the Syrian. St Ephrem was born around 306 in the city of Nisibis, which today is known as Nusaybin, in southeast Turkey, just on the border with Syria. therefore just within our diocese. The photo above is from the 5th century monastery of Mar Gabriel, not far from where Ephrem lived and ministered. He was a deacon and author of over 500 hymns. (Two of his compositions are included in Common Worship: Daily Prayer, on pages 49 and 637). The Church of England commemorates St Ephrem on 9 June. His prayer is said daily in Lent in the Eastern Churches (with a prostration after each sentence):

O Lord and Master of my life, give me not a spirit of sloth, despondency, lust for power and idle talk.
But a spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love give to me thy servant.
O Lord and King, grant me to see my own faults and not to judge my brother or sister for blessed art thou to the ages of ages.

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