The Prayer of St. Ephraim (with children)

The prayer of St. Ephraim is a penitential prayer that is said near the end of each church service during Lent (which is 8 times a day if you are in a monastery or a huge cathedral where all of the services are performed each day). Many lay people say the prayer in their home prayer corners in the morning and the evening during Lent. After each section of the prayer is said it is customary to do a full prostration, touching one’s head to the ground.

O Lord and Master of my life, a spirit of idleness, despondency, ambition, and idle talking give me not.

 Children throw themselves to the floor with apparent glee.

 But rather a spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love bestow upon me thy servant.

 Hey, you’re on me! Stop! (Pushes sibling.)*

 Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own failings, and not to condemn my brother, for blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages.

 You’re doing it wrong! Get up! (Tries to pull sibling up from the floor.)*

 O God, cleanse me a sinner. (Repeated 12 times, with bows.)

The children have given up by this point. The taller one is kissing the icons. The shorter one is jumping up and down in front of them making kissing sounds.

 O Lord and Master of my life, a spirit of idleness, despondency, ambition, and idle talking give me not. But rather a spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love bestow upon me thy servant. Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own failings, and not to condemn my brother, for blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen.

 

*This is not a dramatization. This is really what happened this morning.

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2 thoughts on “The Prayer of St. Ephraim (with children)

  1. Definitely no jumping up and down in our household! A good deal of groaning as we still feel the effects of the Forgiveness Service Sunday at St. Timothy’s in Toccoa, when a way lot of prostrations happened – a small church, so everyone prostrates to everyone else. But I do have a great child story. We were towards the end of the line, and when I prostrated to a very tired Ana (age 4ish?) and asked her forgiveness, she heaved a huge sigh and said, “I’ll TRY!” That created just enough levity to get us through to the end!

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