A Prayer For Christ’s Presence - Praying with Saint Patrick

A Prayer for Christ’s Presence

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me.
“Patrick’s Breastplate”

“Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.”
(Psalm 139:7-10, NIV)

These may be the most famous lines from “Patrick’s Breastplate.” They have been adapted in other songs and prayers, and they have been quoted and sung and prayed for hundreds of years. At the core of these words is the deeply Patrician awareness of our need for God, and God’s willingness to be present with us.

As he wrote these phrases, Patrick may have had in mind the apostle Paul’s encouragement from Romans 8:38-39: “Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ.” Patrick first invites Christ to accompany him, surround him, and indwell him. As Patrick himself is filled with Christ’s love, he asks that Christ would shine through his words and deeds so that everyone he meets would experience God’s presence for themselves.

Let’s pray together:
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 in breadth, Christ in length,
Christ in height, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.

From the Book:

Praying with Saint Patrick cover image

Praying with Saint Patrick
By Aaron Burns & Matt Mikalatos


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