Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Last week during worship, Andrew and Krista led us in version of St. Patrick’s Breastplate, one ofthe most famous prayers in history. Attributed to St. Patrick, the English missionary who evangelized Ireland during the 5th century, the prayer is a powerful reminder of Christ’s presence with and for us in all things.

Written so long ago and informed by the Celtic stream of Christianity, Patrick’s prayer can seem foreign to us. The prayer assumes an acute need for God’s protection from spiritual forces and physical threats. In our day, where death and danger can seem very removed from us and we have a “demystified” view of the universe, it can be difficult to see a need for a daily prayer such as this. We often don’t feel the same need to invoke God’s protection.

Yet Scripture reminds us that we do face real spiritual opposition as Christians, and the reality ofsuffering, danger and death remain close at all times. The power and promise of God to protect us, to shepherd us through life and through the dark valley of death, are what we need. On this St. Patrick’s Day, I hope that this prayer is an encouragement to you, reminding you of God’s goodness and emboldening you to live as Christ’s witness in whatever you face. May we as a church be always consoled by the knowledge of Christ’s protection and presence with us, and strengthened to follow Patrick’s example in faith and mission.

There are various versions of St. Patrick’s prayer; below is a version that includes the most common portions. You can read a longer version here.

I arise today, through
God's strength to pilot me,
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.

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 down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man 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. 

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness of the Creator of creation. 

In the strength of Christ,


Peter Coelho