Celtic CrossSaint Patrick's "Breastplate" Prayer

Image: The Prayer Foundation logo (with white Celtic cross on a green shield).

"...and having on the breastplate of righteousness;”    

-Ephesians 6:14


Photo: of a lit candle.

Not our righteousness; Christ’s. 

Image: portion of illuminated manuscript page from "The Book of Kells."

St. PatrickPrayer Upon Arising.  Psalm 5 may added.

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever.
By power of faith, Christ's incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet 'well done' in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors' faith, Apostles' word,
The Patriarchs' prayers, the Prophets' scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun's life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan's spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart's idolatry,
Against the wizard's evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

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 the Name,
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.


* Note: "day of doom" is an Old English term meaning "Day of Judgment."     _______________________________________

     See Also: 


  (Except Prayer Text, which is in the Public Domain) Copyright © 2010 S.G.P. All rights reserved.  




Image: Front Cover of the book, "St. Patrick's Breastplate." St. Patrick's Breastplate

This prayer is called "St. Patrick's Breastplate" because of those parts of it that seek God's protection.  It is also known as "The Deer's Cry" or "The Lorica".

This is the version that we as Celtic Monks have chosen to memorize and pray in the morning upon awakening.  We may additionally pray Psalm 5. We also sometimes use it during our Worship Service.  

In each instance we may either say it or sing it.  The melody we sing is that used by the Ken Read Ensemble in their Youtube clip. _______________

In 1889, C. F. ("Fanny") Alexander (1818-1895), penned this version at the request of H. H. Dickinson, Dean of the Chapel Royal at Dublin Castle.  

He recalls, "I wrote to her suggesting that she should fill a gap in our Irish Church Hymnal by giving us a metrical version of St. Patrick's 'Lorica' and I sent her a carefully collated copy of the best prose translations of it.  

Within a week she sent me that exquisitely beautiful as well as faithful version which appears in the appendix to our Church Hymnal." _______________

"...and having on the breastplate of righteousness;” -Ephesians 6:14

Paul compares our Christian armor to armor the Ephesians would have been familiar with, that of the Romans. 

A Roman breastplate was a metal shield of sorts that strapped on and guarded the soldier’s chest. 

Within the chest lies our heart. 

When our heart stops beating we die. 

Thus, the heart is a key target that an enemy will try to hit to end our lives. 

Our heart is also symbolic as the home of our spirit. 

The breastplate we are given to protect our heart is righteousness. 

Not our righteousness; Christ’s. 

We have already gotten God’s approval, He sent Christ to be righteousness for us. 

No trick or scheme of Satan can take away that righteousness unless we let down our breastplate and bare our heart for him to take. 

By holding the sacrifice of Christ against our heart as a breastplate, we cannot be lost by attack to the heart. ______________