Today, my friends and well beloved. Begins the Fast of the Ninevites or in Syriac (ܒܥܘܬܐ ܕܢܝܢܘܝܐ).
This fast, commemorates the repentance of the Ninvites. The three day fast resembles the time Jonah was in the whale.
Below is the prayer for the first day according the East Syrian Rite.
Taken from here.
In pain and tears and fervent prayer, we cry to you, good Lord above! Be our healer and our wise guide: deep are our wounds; bitter our pain. We have no right to plead to you: our faults abound, our malice soars. The sea and land, and all therein have quaked and raged due to our sin. In our own time, as Scripture says, the end of days has come upon us. In mercy, save us from distress, for height and depth have been confused. O Good Shepherd, come tend your flock, for whose sake you endured the cross. Make peace for us in Church and world, that we may live a tranquil life. May we be yours, as is your will: Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost. From age to age, amen, amen.
Come, let us repent now, while we have time, lest we repent then, without benefit. Who is patient enough to speak of your patience with our sins? If we sin, we become filled with wickedness, if we do good, we become filled with pride; and toward one another, we are cruel and merciless: we are jealous of one who succeeds, we rejoice over one who falls. And though our life is short, the list of our sins is long. You limited our lifespan to seventy years at best, but with these seventy, we have sinned seventy times seven over. You limited our life that our sins may not lengthen. I marvel at your Mercies, which overcame your Justice: even an impure man despises one impure like himself, yet you, who are holy, have not despised us. I am humbled by your Justice which does not despise us, as well as by your Grace, which is patient in teaching us, and how you dawn your sun upon those who upset you. You give without limit; we lose without measure. You taught us order; we act against it. We have put on mere names, and have taken off good works.
O pleaders, and do not cease while there is time for pleading, before the Giver shuts the door, and closes up his treasury. Were you to call in groaning, he would answer you sweetly, and were you to ask in repentance, you would receive abundantly. The Rich One who is full of mercies does not become poor when he gives: his treasure is one of mercy, a chasm filled with pity. Approach, you repentant, and ask for mercies while there is time for repentance. Let each one leave off all bitterness of heart and ask for mercies and pity. Let us heal and be healed, my brethren, that we may be healthy for work. This is the time for repentance! Let us work hard in pleading! Wrath now runs upon the earth: cut off his course, O repenter! Let us be plowmen in fasting, that our seed bring forth a hundredfold. Let us be workers in prayer, for it is a vine of comfort. Let us be builders of our hearts, that they may be fitting temples of God.
O Good One who showed his great love through the creature of man: [Yes, Lord!] [kneel] Pacify the world that is troubled and disturbed by the sins of man. [Amen.] [stand] O Lover of man, sow harmony among the sons of men, that one man may not be troubled or injured by another. O King of kings, who gives kings authority over man, soften the hearts of kings in regard to the sons of men. Abolish wars and end conflicts between men, that those who hate men may not dare to disturb them. Uphold your Church, which always knocks upon the door of your mercy, that she may not be defeated by the rebel, the hater of man. Bind her children together in perfect love toward mankind, and uproot jealousy, deceit and hatred from among them. Protect her shepherd, and increase peace in his days, that he may be an advocate and draw your mercies to men. Aid and sustain bishops, who stand as a symbol of the Shepherd of men, that they may care for mankind with joyfulness. May you shelter this parish, in which your holy Name is glorified, from the agitator, the hater of men. O God of all, whose love overflows upon mankind, protect our pastor, and give him strength to stand as leader. Adorn the priests, that they may be pure in body and soul, and accept the Sacrifices that they offer to you on behalf of mankind. Sanctify the deacons who serve you in the sanctuary, that they may be without fault or defilement. Perfect good teachers in understanding and pure intentions, and instruct learners in meditation and discipline. Bless the faithful, sealed and signed in your holy sign, and let your holy Name be hallowed in them. Visit the singers who cry out to you every day; in your mercy, do not abandon them to the evil one. Encourage the weak and the weary, and give victory and confidence to the oppressed. Show your way to all the lost on the path of wickedness, the path leading to life everlasting. Give security to all travelers on land and sea, rescue them from all straying and weariness. Hear, in your mercies, this prayer offered to you, and accept, in your love, this supplication presented to you. May your power be a great fortress for this gathering,
Through the Birth-Giver of God Maryam and Mor Ephrem. God Bless you All.