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The prayer of Ephraim the Syrian in Lent. What prayers to read in fasting

The Great Lent is a period of abstinence from the usual pleasures to which an Orthodox Christian is accustomed. Among the pleasures of the Orthodox Church is not only food, but entertainment - spiritual and physical.

What is the meaning of fasting?

If the meaning of this Christian tradition consisted only in food restrictions, then fasting would not differ much from the usual diet. It is believed that only in the state of restraint of bodily needs a person becomes especially receptive to spiritual work on himself, therefore fasting is a period of abstinence and repentance. And repentance is inconceivable without reading a prayer. What prayers to read in fasting? The most famous Lenten prayers and prayer-books are "For every petition of the soul," the penitential canon of St. Andrew of Crete. The most famous and revered prayer is Ephraim the Syrian in Lent, it is read in all churches and in the homes of Christian believers throughout the entire post.

Prayer reading during fasting

The famous saint Theophan the Recluse said that a person is not complete without a body, just as prayer is not complete without a prayer rule. The prayer rule, in turn, is that it follows:

  1. Praying, applying the soul, delving into each phrase.
  2. Pray slowly, not hurrying, as if singing.
  3. Pray during the time allotted solely to this matter, so that nothing at this time distracted the praying.
  4. Think about prayer during the day, noting in advance where it manages to observe it, and where it does not.
  5. Read the prayers with a break, sharing them with earthly bows.
  6. Observe the time of prayer - they should be conducted in the morning and in the evening, before and after eating, on the eve of each new case, before taking the prosphora and holy water.

All these rules should be strictly observed during fasting, and, in addition, the volume of prayer readings during this period should be increased and given them special spiritual attention.

The importance of the prayer of Ephraim the Syrian

The repentant prayer of Ephraim the Syrian consists of only three dozen words, and contains in itself all the most important elements of repentance, points to what the main efforts should be made to the praying person. Thanks to this prayer, the believer determines for himself the way to get rid of the ailments that prevent him from getting closer to God.

In addition, this prayer is available and capacitively expresses the meaning and meaning of Lent. The prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian reflects the main commandments given by the Lord, and helps in an accessible form to comprehend his attitude towards them. It is read by the Orthodox in their homes and churches at the end of each divine service during the Lenten period.

Who is Ephraim the Syrian

But not only Ephraim the Syrian Great Lenten prayer made him a revered saint, this person is known as a church speaker, thinker and theologian. He was born in the IV century in Mesopotamia, in the family of poor peasants. For a long time Ephraim did not believe in God, but by chance he became one of the best preachers of that time. According to legend, Ephraim was accused of stealing sheep and put in jail. While in prison, he heard the voice of God calling him to repent and believe in the Lord, after which he was acquitted by the court and released. This event turned the life of the young man, forcing him to repent and retire to live away from people.

For a long time he led an ascetic life, later became a disciple of the famous ascetic - St. James, who lived in the surrounding mountains. Under his guidance, Ephraim read sermons, taught children and helped with services. After the death of St. James, the young man settled in a monastery near the city of Edessa. Efrem persistently studied the Word of God, the works of great thinkers, holy elders, scientists. Possessing the gift of teaching, he could make this information accessible and convincing to people. Soon people began coming to him who needed his instructions. It is known that the Gentiles, who were on the preaching of Ephraim, converted to Christianity easily and confidently.

Veneration of the saint today

Today Ephraim the Syrian is called the father of the church, the teacher of repentance. All his works are imbued with the idea that repentance is the meaning and engine of the life of every Christian. Sincere repentance combined with tears of remorse, according to the saint, completely destroys and flushes any sin of man. The spiritual heritage of the saint totals thousands of works, but only a small part of them has been translated into Russian. The most famous prayer of Ephraim the Syrian in Lent, as well as his tearful prayers, prayers for different occasions and conversation about the free will of man.

The history of prayer

How did Ephraim the Syrian create this prayer, no one will truly tell. According to legend, one deserted hermit ghosted angels, holding in their hands a large scroll, covered with inscriptions on both sides. The angels did not know who to pass it to, stood in indecision and then from heaven heard the voice of God "Only Ephraim, My Chosen One." The hermit led to the angels Ephraim the Syrian, they handed him the scroll and told him to swallow it. Then a miracle happened: the words from the scroll were spread by Ephraim, like a wondrous vine. So the prayer of Ephraim the Syrian in Lent became known to every Orthodox Christian. This prayer stands out among all the other Lenten songs, it is most often read in the church and most often during this prayer the whole church kneels before God.

The text of the prayer

The prayer of Ephraim the Syrian, the text of which is presented in this article, is easily remembered and read, despite the existence of Old Slavic words.

Lord and Master of my belly!
The spirit of idleness, despondency, lust
And do not let idle talk.
The spirit of chastity, humility,
Endure patience and love to me, your servant.
She, Lord God, grant me to see my
Sin, and condemn not my brother, as blessed art thou for ever and ever.


This is the prayer of Ephraim the Syrian. The text of the prayer can not be understood by all Christians because of the Church Slavonic words in it, but behind modest petitions in this prayer there is a meaning so profound that not every Christian manages to comprehend it from the first reading. For a full understanding, the interpretation of the prayer of Ephraim the Syrian is presented below.

Interpretation of Prayer

As can be seen from the text of the prayer, it is divided into two types of petitions: in some, the supplicant asks the Lord "not to give" - that is, to release from faults and sins, and by another series of petitions, the suppliant, on the contrary, asks the Lord to "give" him spiritual gifts. The interpretation of the prayer of Ephraim the Syrian has a deep spiritual meaning, we will consider the meaning of each of them.

Requests for deliverance sound like this: "Do not let the spirit of idleness, despondency, lust control and idle talk". Only thanks to prayer man is able to perform a feat and get rid of these sins.


It would seem that idleness is not such a great sin in comparison with envy, murder and theft. However, it is the most sinful negative state of man. Translation of this word from the Church Slavonic language means emptiness and passivity of the soul. It is idleness that is the cause of the man's dull impotence before spiritual work on himself. In addition, it invariably gives rise to despondency - the second terrible sin of the human soul.


They say that idleness symbolizes the absence of light in the soul of man, and despondency - the presence in it of darkness. Discouragement is the saturation of the soul with lies about God, the world and people. The Devil in the Gospel is called the father of lies, and therefore dejection is a terrible diabolical obsession. In a state of despondency, man discerns only the bad and evil around him, he is unable to see kindness and light in people. That is why the state of despondency is equivalent to the beginning of spiritual death and the disintegration of the human soul.


The penitential prayer of Ephraim the Syrian mentions the state of the soul as an amusement, which means a person's desire for power and domination over other people. The aspiration is born from despondency and idleness because staying in them, a person tears his relationships with other people. Thus, he becomes internally lonely, and the surrounding people turn to him only as a means to achieve his goals. The thirst for power is dictated by the desire to humiliate another person, make him dependent on himself, denied his freedom. They say that in the world there is nothing more terrible than such power - the disfigured emptiness of the soul and its loneliness and despondency.


Mentioned the lenten prayer of Ephraim the Syrian and the sin of the human soul, such as idle talk, that is - idle talk. The gift of speech was given to man by God, and therefore it can only be used with good intent. The word used to commit evil, deceit, expression of hatred, uncleanness bears a great sin. This is stated in the Gospel that at the Great Court for every idle word uttered during life, the soul will keep an answer. Celebration brings people lies, temptation, hatred and corruption.

The prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian helps to realize these sins, to repent of them, because only when they realize their wrongness, a person is able to move to other petitions - positive. Such petitions sound in prayer as follows: "The spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love ... grant me my riddles in the morning and do not judge my brother."

The meaning of this word is broad, and it means two basic concepts - "integrity" and "wisdom." When the suppliant asks the Lord for chastity for himself, it means that he asks knowledge, experience to see goodness, wisdom to lead a righteous life. The integrity of these petitions is a human wisdom, allows a person to resist evil, disintegration and departure from wisdom. Asking for chastity, a person dreams of bringing life back into peace and harmony for the mind, body and soul.


Humility and simrennodriye - concepts are not the same. And if humility can be treated as impersonal obedience, humility is humility, which has nothing to do with self-abasement and contempt. A humble man rejoices at the attainments revealed to him by God, the depth of life that he discovers in humility. The humble man, the fallen, needs constant self-exaltation and self-affirmation. A humble man does not need pride, since he has nothing to hide from other people, because he is humble, not eager to prove to others and to himself his worth.


"It remains only to endure" - this is not Christian patience. True Christian patience is the Lord who believes in each of us, trusts us and loves us. It is based on the belief that good always overcomes evil, life conquers death in the Christian faith. It is this virtue that the supplicant asks of himself from the Lord when he speaks of patience.


In fact, the whole prayer comes down to a request for love. Idleness, despondency, celibacy and idle talk are a hindrance to love, it is they who do not let it into the heart of a person. And chastity, humility and patience are some kind of roots for the germination of love.

How to read a prayer correctly

When the prayer of Ephraim the Syrian is read, one should follow certain rules:

  • Reading is performed all the days of Lent, except Saturday and Sunday.
  • If the prayer is read for the first time, then after each petition one should bow to the earth.
  • Subsequently, the ecclesiastical charter demands that the throne be recited three times while praying: before petitions for relief from ills, before petitions for talent and before the beginning of the third part of the prayer.
  • If the soul requires it, prayer can be made outside of lenten days.

What prayers are read in fasting?

In addition to the prayers of Ephraim the Syrian, the church also recommends other prayers to the believers. In the early days of Lent, Christians are advised to pay attention to the Great Penitential Canon of Andrew of Crete. The Holy canon is read in the evening before the Lent and in the first four days.

In addition, believers read those prayers that are pronounced on ordinary days. When the prayer of Ephraim the Syrian is read, the reading and prayers from the Book of Hours and the Triodion are usually performed, as well as the prayer "For every request of the soul".


The prayer of Ephraim the Syrian in Lent represents the quintessence of the spiritual prayers of supplicant to God. She teaches him to love, to enjoy life and helps to keep the fast.

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