One of the challenges during Lent is redirecting how we pray. We do family worship at home most evenings, and I’ve noticed it becomes easy to get into a repetitive rut of what we say during extemporaneous prayers. With that challenge in mind, I want to give you a couple of ancient supplications that really capture the spirit of Lent. The first, from St Ephrem, continues to be used in the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Churches even today. Ephrem the Syrian was born in 306AD and died in 373AD. This is a prayer from the earliest days of the church! Our second is penned by Augustine of Hippo, who was born not much later (354AD – 430AD). He is considered to be the most influential theologian in the Protestant and Catholic traditions. Calvin was a big fan of Augustine.
Mix these into your Lenten prayer efforts and don’t be afraid to repeat them during these forty days. They express our yearning to move from sin into sanctification beautifully. May they bless you in their God-honoring content!
In His love,
Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian:
and Master of my life!
Take from me the spirit of laziness,
faint-heartedness, desire for power, and idle talk.
give your servant
the spirit of chastity,
humility, patience, and love.
Lord and King!
Grant me to see my own errors
and not to unjustly or hastily judge my brother,
for you are blessed, now and forever. Amen.
A Prayer from Augustine of Hippo:
in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, that I may defend all that is holy.
Guard me, O Holy Spirit, that I myself may always be holy.