Celtic Christian Prayer – Loving it!
I’m currently reading through (and LOVING) Stephen Lawhead’s Pendragon Cycle. Currently I’m half way through Arthur, the third book in the series. These books are not only examples of great story-telling, Lawhead weaves in Celtic faith and shares some of the monastery lives of people in those times. They also have a few of the Celtic Christian prayers – modified, but they’re there, all the same. I love those prayers.
Lately I’ve been rather fascinated by the Celts, and most especially Celtic Christianity. There was such a strong sense of community with the Celts. Their form of evangelism was mostly through demonstration of love and caring for the people around them. Where the western process of evangelism revolves around trying to get people “into the club” with a focus on sin and redemption, the Celtic style tended to be more about inviting people to share their lives and letting the love of God simply “rub off’. George Hunter, in his book The Celtic Way Of Evangelism: How Christianity Can Reach The West…Again talks about how the Celts would simply move into an area, live their lives, and invite those who were curious to come and participate in the daily life of that community, and simply love them to Jesus.
The other thing I love about the Celtic Christians is the way prayer permeated their lives. They had a prayer for everything. They have a prayer for waking up, for starting the morning fire, for going into the fields, for eating their food. Whatever the daily task, there was a prayer to go along with it. The prayers also had a lovely chanting rhythm that was preserved in the translations. I love the idea of the rhythm of prayer running the daily activities of life.
Here’s one for getting started with the day:
God to enfold me,
God to surround me,
God in my speaking,
God in my thinking.
God in my sleeping,
God in my waking,
God in my watching,
God in my hoping.
God in my life,
God in my lips,
God in my soul,
God in my heart.
God in my sufficing,
God in my slumber,
God in mine ever-living soul,
God in mine eternity.
Here’s one for going to bed:
I lay my head to rest
and in doing so
lay at your feet
the faces I have seen
the voices I have heard
the words I have spoken
the hands I have shaken
the service I have given
the joys I have shared
the sorrows revealed
I lay them at your feet
and in doing so
lay my head to rest
When I do my rosary walks I love to include Celtic prayers in the rosary cycles. My all-time favourite prayer is St. Patrick’s Breastplate:
I bind unto myself today the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three.
Of whom all nature hath creation, eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
praise to the Lord of my salvation, salvation is of Christ the Lord.
Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself today
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.
1. I bind this day to me for ever, by power of faith, Christ’s Incarnation;
2. his baptism in Jordan river;
3. his death on cross for my salvation;
4. his bursting from the spicèd tomb;
5. his riding up the heavenly way;
6. his coming at the day of doom:
7. I bind unto myself today.
1. I bind unto myself the power of the great love of cherubim;
2. the sweet “Well done” in judgment hour;
3. the service of the seraphim;
4. confessors’ faith, apostles’ word,
5. the patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls;
6. all good deeds done unto the Lord,
7. and purity of virgin souls.
1. I bind unto myself today the virtues of the starlit heaven,
2. the glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
3. the whiteness of the moon at even,
4. the flashing of the lightning free,
5. the whirling of the wind’s tempestuous shocks,
6. the stable earth, the deep salt sea,
7. around the old eternal rocks.
1. I bind unto myself today the power of God to hold and lead,
2. his eye to watch, his might to stay,
3. his ear to hearken, to my need;
4. the wisdom of my God to teach,
5. his hand to guide, his shield to ward;
6. the word of God to give me speech,
7. his heavenly host to be my guard.
Words: attributed to St. Patrick (372-466)
translated by Cecil Frances Alexander, 1889
Adapted for use with Anglican Prayer Beads by Laura Kelly Campbell
Now tell me that starting each day chanting that prayer wouldn’t shift things considerably with regards to how you face your world!
|Be A Star!
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