A Prayer For Protection - Praying with Saint Patrick

A Prayer for Protection

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.
“Patrick’s Breastplate”

“One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” (Mark 12:28-30, NIV)

Patrick’s most famous prayer is known by several different names. Some call it “Saint Patrick’s Breastplate” (for it was a prayer of protection). Others call it the Lorica (a Roman word for “armor”). It is sometimes called “The Cry of the Deer,” because one story says God made Patrick and his monks appear as a herd of wild deer, allowing them to escape undetected.

While we don’t know for sure whether Patrick or one of his students wrote this prayer, we do know that it reflects the values and heart of Patrick, and it’s always included in the stories about him.

The morning after the Easter Fire, or so the story is told, Patrick set out for the Hill of Tara, the seat of the High Kings of Ireland. It was there that Lóegaire reigned, the king who was both fierce and fiercely opposed to Patrick’s God. Lóegaire had set druids to ambush Patrick and his followers on their journey, but the ambushers never saw the holy parade as it made its way to the king’s seat.

Why were Patrick and his people hidden from those who would do them harm? Because, we are told, they had been praying “Patrick’s Breastplate.”

This prayer was purposely patterned on a traditional Irish incantation for protection on a journey. Patrick took this non-Christian tradition and infused it with the presence of Christian theology and references to Christ. So as we pray this prayer in the days to come, understand that Patrick is saying, essentially, “These truths about God are a protection I am wearing on the journey I am on. They will keep me safe in the places I travel.”

For today, let us pray with Patrick the first short stanza of “Patrick’s Breastplate,” which reminds us to take shelter in the presence of the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Prayer: 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.

From the Book:

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Praying with Saint Patrick
By Aaron Burns & Matt Mikalatos

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