Last night was Forgiveness Vespers at church. That officially marks the beginning of Lent for Orthodox Christians. Each person in the church asks every other person in the church for forgiveness, and gives forgiveness to each one! This was the first year that I didn’t cry, but I was definitely convicted – I’d had a rough morning at home – everything going wrong – and I’d taken it out on the whole family. Last night I realized that Forgiveness Vespers is the first time we pray The Prayer of St. Ephraim. We pray this prayer all through Lent, but I didn’t remember that we prayed it during Forgiveness Vespers. This prayer is dear to my heart because my son is named after St. Ephraim.
O Lord and Master of my life! Take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant. Yea, O Lord and King! Grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother; For Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen
As I held my sleeping Ephraim in my arms last night, I repeated this prayer, my heart’s true desire.
This week is called Clean Week in the Orthodox Church, and we now begin our 40 day fast and journey toward the resurrection. Here is a great post on why we fast during Lent by Glory to God for All Things:
It was a beautiful service. Thanks for the prayer. I am ashamed to say that I missed it. (Always so many layers of experience at any one time.) I will hear it next time. And, I will be revisiting it many times myself during this period of preparation.
Well, it’s my fifth Lent, and I just heard it! It was when everyone knelt. I didn’t remember singing the Paschal hymn before, either! 🙂