Prayer of St Ephraim

Metanoia during a service of the Twelve Gospels in Holy Week

Prostration during a service of the Twelve Gospels in Holy Week. The Prostration is complete when the forehead touches the ground.

O LORD and Master of my life, give me not the spirit of sloth, needless meddling, lust for power and idle talk.

But grant unto me, Thy servant, a spirit of sound discretion, humility, patience and love.

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see mine own faults and not to condemn my brother, for blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen.

The Prayer of St Ephraim.

It is usual to make a prostration after each line, especially in Great Lent.

To make a prostration, the Christian gently lowers himself to his knees, then leans forward on his hands, and finally touches the ground with his forehead. He remains kneeling throughout, and does not lay himself out flat. As with all Orthodox worship, this is not choreographed or done to a strict rhythm, but each of the faithful does it in his own time. Those with mobility problems simply bow from the waist or neck.

During Lent, the Prayer is then followed by twelve (small) Metanoias, in which the Christian, having made the sign of the cross with his right hand while standing up straight, now bows deeply from the waist, sweeping the hand down as if to brush the floor with extended fingers. You don’t actually need to touch the floor (speaking for myself, I can’t get anywhere close without flexing the knees). This simply forces the bow to be deep. Then the last line of the Prayer is repeated, and one more full Prostration is made.

→ There is a very fine exposition of this Prayer by Fr Alexander Schmemann at Salt of the Earth.


Κύριε, καὶ Δέσποτα τῆς ζωῆς μου, πνεῦμα ἀργίας, περιεργίας, φιλαρχίας, καὶ ἀργολογίας μή μοι δῷς.

Πνεῦμα δὲ σωφροσύνης, ταπεινοφροσύνης, ὑπομονῆς καὶ ἀγάπης, χάρισαί μοι τῷ σῷ δούλῳ.

Ναί, Κύριε Βασιλεῦ, δώρησαί μοι τοῦ ὁρᾶν τὰ ἐμὰ πταίσματα, καὶ μὴ κατακρίνειν τὸν ἀδελφόν μου, ὅτι εὐλογητὸς εἶ, εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. Ἀμήν.


Господи и владыко живота моегω, духъ праздности, оунынїѧ, любоначалїѧ и празднословїѧ не даждь ми.

Духъ же цѣломѹдрїѧ, смиренномѹдрїѧ, терпѣнїѧ и любве, дарѹй ми рабѹ твоемѹ.

Ей Господи Царю, даруй ми зрѣти моѧ прегрѣшенїѧ, и не ωсуждати брата моегω, якω благословенъ еси во вѣки вѣковъ. Аминь

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