As a general rule, I like to have a good idea of my destination before I begin a journey. Today, (November 15) we begin a fast in preparation for the Nativity of our Lord, God, and Saviour, Jesus Christ. The following prayer is designed to be prayed by the priest during the Holy Liturgy for the Nativity (found in the Trebnik, or Book of Needs). It is a beautiful prayer, and I think if we hear it in the proper way, a wonderful beginning for our fasting – this is a prayer that we are preparing ourselves to hear at the Nativity of our God and Saviour in the flesh. May your efforts be blessed!

Prayer at the Nativity of Christ for Spiritual ChildrenO Master, Lord God Almighty: When Thou wast born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem in Judea, the trembling creation wast illumined and the world wast made glad at Thy Nativity. Thou madest man according to Thine Image and Likeness and gavest unto him Baptism for the repentance. Thou hast led Thy servants to this most-honorable day, by abstinence of the passions in the hope of the Resurrection. Having instructed them in the truth of Thy Godhead, open to them, in their hearts and minds, to know Thee the Son of God, Who takest away the sins of the whole world.

O Master, the Lover of Man, now accept Thy servants, as once Thou didst receive Peter when he was sinking in the sea and again, when he had denied Thee thrice, weeping bitterly, Thou didst accept him. Accept, O Master, the tears and sighs and repentance of Thy servants, just as Thou didst receive the groaning of the Publican and the weeping of the Harlot who anointed Thy feet with tears, with her own hair wiping them for the sake of mercy. Thou didst receive the thief to Thyself who had cried out on the cross to Thee: “Remember me, O Lord, when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom!” And Thou didst say to him: “Today thou shalt be with Me in Paradise!”
We have heard voices speaking of the Magi worshipping with gifts, shepherds piping and angels singing, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will to men,” and of Herod greatly disturbed, for God had revealed Himself in the flesh for the salvation of the human race. Now, O Master, the Lover of Mankind, all creation sings Thy praises, saying, “Christ is born! Glorify Him! Christ comes from Heaven! Meet Him! Christ is on earth! Be exalted!” Now the angelic assembly rejoices and choirs of Martyrs make glad, having seen Thy glorious and honorable Nativity. Therefore let all of us praise Him, as is meet, with hearts and lips.

O Gracious Lover of Mankind and Lord, accept now these Thy servants repenting of their own sins, known and unknown, voluntary or involuntary, and out of Thy customary love for mankind, accept the bowing of the knees and the fasting of Thy servants, that having fulfilled Thy commandments and having reached Thy holy and precious Nativity, pure and without reproach, they may become communicants of Thy Most-pure Body and Thy Precious Blood. For to Thee are due all glory, honor, and worship, together with Thy Father and Thine All-Holy, Good and Life-creating Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

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