The Prayer of St. Ephrem and its practice in daily family life.

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O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power and idle talk.
But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, and love toward your servants.
Grant that I may see my own sins and not judge my brother and sister,
for blessed are You unto ages of ages.

How can this prayer become more meaningful in daily family life as we journey through Great Lent? A couple of things come to mind for families to consider.

  • It would be a good idea for parents and their children to sit down and discuss what the various words in the prayer mean. Don’t take for granted that children understand the sins of “sloth, despair, lust of power, and idle talk.” The same may be said for “chastity” and “humility.” What does it mean to “judge my brother and sister?” I would recommend reading Great Lent by Father Alexander Schmemann, in which one chapter is devoted to the Prayer of Saint Ephrem. This would be a great resource for parents in guiding discussion with their children. Do our children understand the idea of sin? It is more than just making a mistake.
  • Once this has happened, further discussion can take place on helping children to identify the ways in which ways they fall short or “miss the bull’s eye” as they seek to live by this prayer. Children might make a list of sins to take to confession. Discussion can take place on how prayer, fasting, and almsgiving can act as wonderful medicines to help us fight and conquer sins in our lives that are difficult to stop, understanding that all of this can only happen by the grace and help of the Holy Spirit.

As we continue in this first week of Great Lent, please forgive me a sinner for any failings in what I have written on this family web page and for anything I have done to cause anyone to be offended. Forgive me a sinner and pray for me.

In Christ’s love,

The unworthy +Paul


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