Death is right here. Be sober, O soul.


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)

30 Death is right here. Be sober, O soul. 

The time of my life has been squandered in cares and shameful thoughts. Grant me, O Lord, a cure, that I might be completely healed of my hidden sores. Strengthen me, that I might labor diligently in Thy vineyard, if even only for one hour. For my life in its vanity has already reached its eleventh hour. 

Direct my ship and its goods by Thy commandments, and grant me, a worthless merchant, the presence of mind to sell my cargo while there is still time. 

The time for sailing is already coming to an end; it is as if I could already hear the voice of the Judge saying to me, who am dissolute: show me now, O slothful one, the goods which you have acquired during your life. 

The hour of death terrifies me, who am miserable. For I look at my deeds and my soul trembles; I see my apathy and slothfulness, and my bones stiffen. The hour of departure looms before mine eyes and I am taken with tremendous fear when I think of it. Instead of rejoicing, I have become more afraid, because when I had grace I did no deeds worthy of God. 

Woe is me, O my soul! Why dost thou neglect thy life! Why dost thou spend its numbered days in dissipation? Can it be that thou dost not know that thou wilt be called in a moment? What wilt thou do there after leading a careless life here? With what response wilt thou justify thyself when thou standest before the throne of the terrible Judge? The enemy deceives thee and day by day he steals away thine inheritance, but thou dost fail to comprehend this. 

Be sober; come to thy senses and pray to God with tears, calling out to Him with heartfelt grief: grant me, O Lord, to love Thee with all my strength and to serve Thee diligently, fulfilling Thy holy commandments, that when my hour of departure arrives, Thou mightest find me ready and waiting to meet Thee with great joy, and Thou mightest lead me into Thine eternal kingdom to rejoice with all the saints who have been pleasing to Thee.  

Prayer of Saint Ephrem the Syrian


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