The gift of tears and the banishment of the enemy...

Prayers that St. Ephraim the Syrian offered up to God.

Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian 

O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despondency, lust for power and idle talk. (full prostration) But grant unto me, Your servant, a spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love. (full prostration) Thus, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own faults and not to judge my brothers and sisters. For You are blessed unto the ages of ages. Amen. (full prostration) O God, cleanse me, a sinner (12 times, with bows from the waist) (Read the entire prayer through once more from the beginning, followed by a full prostration)

24 The gift of tears and the banishment of the enemy...

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Our Savior! Grant me, Thy servant, contrition and enlightenment of heart, that with an enlightened heart, tears of sweetness might spring forth in pure prayer, that it might not take many of my tears for Thee to erase the record of my sins, and that for the sake of brief lamentation thou mightest extinguish the fire kindled in me. For if, O Master, thou allowest me to weep here, then wilt Thou free me from inextinguishable fire. 

I know, O longsuffering and man-befriending Lord, that every day and hour I embitter and anger Thee greatly, but the kindness of Thy endurance will vanquish my malice and bitterness. 

O Lord, Who lovest good and art a God of mercy and compassion! Save me from the terrible corrupt enemy, who hourly fetters and persecutes my soul with evil and corrupt thoughts. 

Ineffable is Thy strength, O Christ, for it rebuked the waves of the sea. May it rebuke him, may it render him ineffectual, and may it banish him far from me Thy servant.

Every day he renews his treachery against me and he hastens to take possession of my crippled mind and to distance me from Thee and from Thy divine Commandments. 

But, O Master, O most merciful Lord, quickly send Thy strength and chase from me, Thy worthless servant, this mighty serpent with all of his cunning and shameful thoughts, that I might in purity praise Thee with thine eternal Father and Thine all-holy and good and life-creating Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

25 Deliver me from apathy and slothfulness...

The sinless Lamb of God freely chose to suffer the cross in the flesh and was slain for the salvation of us sinners. In incorrupt flesh did He taste death in order to save our fallen nature. Thou Who art the Wisdom and the Strength of God the Father, the Radiance of His glory, O incomprehensible Jesus, O unfathomable Christ, O only kindhearted Lover of mankind, pour out on me, a sinner, Thy great mercy; and by Thy grace chase away from me all apathy, slothfulness and impatience, that in Thy second coming I might not hear thy terrible denunciation: What didst thou suffer for My sake? 

In that terrible and frightening day, O Lord, Thou wilt say to us sinners: you all know well what I suffered for your sake. I, Who am god, took flesh for your sake. I, Who am invisible, visibly dwelt on earth for your sake. For your sake I hungered, thirsted and labored. for your sake I was persecuted and stoned. I, Who am blameless, was struck in the face and spat upon for your sake. I, Who am sinless, suffered a dishonorable death for your sake. For your sake my ribs were pierced with a spear and I was given vinegar mixed with gall to drink. All this have I suffered for your sake, in order to make you saints in heaven. I have given you the kingdom of heaven, I have called you all brothers, I have sent down to you the Holy Spirit. O men, what have you suffered for My sake? 

What shall I, who am wretched, wicked, sinful and defiled, say in response? the martyrs will point to their wounds, their torments, their detached limbs, their endurance to the end. The ascetics will point to their asceticism, their lengthy fasts, vigils, nonacquisitiveness, their tears and all their sufferings. But I, who am slothful and sinful, to what shall I point, but the shameful fruits of gluttony, sensuality, somnolence, acquisitiveness, impatience, vainglory and apathy? 

If Thou demandest from me, O Lord, an account of the time which I was given for repentance, but spent in negligence, how shall I justify myself? And if I am interrogated about my idle talking, wicked thoughts and desires, then what fear, what confusion will embrace poor me, and what torments will follow thereafter? 

Spare me, O Lord! Spare me, O kindhearted One! Spare me, O Lover of man! Spare me, O only good One! Be merciful and have mercy on me according to Thy singular kindness. Strengthen my soul which has been corrupted by my slothfulness and apathy, O Thou Who exaltest the lowly and rescuest the distressed! 

Thou knowest how negligent and wretched I am, Thou knowest how many cunning and evil thoughts war against me, Thou seest the enemy's malice and the many wiles which he uses against me. Help me according to Thy great mercy, make me sober and vigilant, quicken me and save me by Thy grace through the prayers of our most pure Lady the Mother of God and of all the saints.

Prayers of Saint Ephrem the Syrian


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