August 30, 2017: St. Patrick's Breastplate
But you, O Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, and the one who lifts up my head. - Psalm 3:3
St. Patrick was a man who knew much about darkness and hardship. He had spent years in slavery after being kidnapped by pirates at age 16. And it was in those years, he would later say, that he learned about the power of God’s Presence and prayer.
Tradition has it that in 433 A.D. St. Patrick was praying for God’s divine protection in his work and ministry in Ireland while facing powerful enemies. He wrote a prayer, now known as St. Patrick’s Breastplate. Here is an extract from this famous prayer for protection:
May Christ shield me today.
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit,
Christ when I stand,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Inspired by St. Patrick’s words, Debbie McDaniel wrote the following prayer (that I have adapted for us to pray):
Dear God, thank you that your presence is powerful and real today. Thank that your Word reminds me repeatedly that you are always with me. Thank you that you go before me, and that you cover me from behind. Thank you for the gift of your Spirit, that you live within me, bringing life and peace. Thank you for your protection over me, that you surround my life as a shield. Thank you for your grace and favor, for your blessings and love that you so graciously shine over me. I look to you today, my Lord and Savior, my Rock and Redeemer. My trust and security is in you alone. Though things may often feel uncertain around me, though struggles may mount up and I feel like I am facing enemy ground, though darkness tries hard to steal my joy away, I choose to rest in you. I walk in your strength and victory, as you pave out my path, and lead my way. I praise you that you bless me and keep me, that you make your face shine over me. I love you, Lord. I hold on to your truth, and rely on your presence in me, and around me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I came across a beautiful setting of the St. Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer, “Christ Before Me” by Keith Duke. I pray that the song* blesses you and ministers to you as it did to me.
* A link to listen to the song through Spotify is included on Trinity's SoundCloud page.
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