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Morning Prayer

I was reading through a book on prayer, and I came across this ancient prayer, which I later found out is an excerpt from a prayer called St. Patrick’s Breastplate. I love the cadence and beauty of the spoken words of this prayer.

 St. Patrick’s Breastplate

Christ as a light

Illumine and guide me.

Christ as a shield O’ershadow me.

Christ under me;

Christ over me;

Christ beside me

On my left and my right.

This day be within and without me.

Lowly and meek yet All-powerful.

Be in the heart of each to whom I speak;

In the mouth of each who speaks unto me.

This day be within and without me,

Lowly and meek yet All-powerful.

Christ as a light;

Christ as a shield;

Christ beside me

On my left and my right.

Amen.

This is such a beautiful, simple prayer to start off your morning prayer time, yet so comprehensive. The prayer begins by reminding us that Jesus is our light for the journey of life that we are on (John 1:4-5), and that each morning we can pray for Him to guide us through our day, to help us stay on His path and not wander off of it.

The next verse reminds us that Christ is our shield, our protection, as Psalm 3:3 tells us. And we need only read through Ephesians 6:10-20 to see the importance of having our shield of faith securely in place for the day. It is only with this shield that we can quench all the fiery darts of our enemy.

The next four verses are so lovely. They remind us that Christ has us completely enveloped with His love and presence. This evokes Psalm 139: 7-12 for me. How completely reassuring to realize that Christ has us hemmed in! Sometimes the words hemmed in have a bad connotation, but not in this instance. We can be assured that Jesus is with us everywhere, always. He’ll be with us in that presentation for work, at home with the children, as we travel, when we have that difficult conversation.

We are then reminded to pray for ourselves and those we meet throughout the day as James 5:16 says, to remember that life is not just “all about us.” Christ wants us to shift our focus onto the people in our circle of influence.

Finally, this prayer points us to Jesus’ character and attributes. Though he was born to a lowly family, He is the All-powerful One as seen in Ephesians 3:20, which means that nothing we face is beyond Jesus. He can handle it all and, consequently, so can we. Actually, His word says we can do above all that we think possible with Him by our sides.

I love praying some of the ancient prayers of the faith. They encourage me in my walk and then inspire me to tell God the thoughts and prayers of my own heart.

I hope they do for you too.

Do you have a favorite prayer? Share it below if you’d like.

Pray on!

 




Little Old Me

Do you ever wish you could do something BIG for the world? I mean something with lasting influence? You may feel as if what you do through your day doesn’t amount to much in the big scheme of things. You look at your friends or family or those in the Christian spotlight who seem to have exciting jobs and callings, while yours pales in comparison. Well, I’d like to suggest that perhaps the problem doesn’t lie with you or your calling.

The problem is how you see yourself.

You’re looking at yourself with your “worldly” eyes, rather than through your spiritual eyes as God sees you.

You see, the Bible tells us that God has given us all spiritual gifts that He wants us to use–not just during special times or events–but everyday (see Romans 12:3-8; 1Corinthians 12:8-10, 28; Ephesians 4:11).  In the ordinary, in the boring, in the busy, in the slow, in the crazy times of our lives, He wants us to use these gifts. But how many of us are really doing that?

Recently, I’ve been challenged to rethink how I look at my days and my gifts.

I’m working through a Bible study called Acts: An Invitation to Courageous Living, written by two women at my church, Corinne Gunter and Julie Meiners. In Week 6, I was asked to think about those people that God has placed in my sphere of influence, and the authors included a diagram (like the one below) in the Bible study. They said to put myself in the place of the green dot in the middle of the circle and then add on the circle the names of people in my life that I may have some influence over.

As I did that, I realized that there were a lot of names on the circle, people of various ages and stages of life, some even of different cultures. Some live close to me, some live farther away.

I then sensed God asking me how I might be able to minister to or influence these people He has put in my life, using the gifts He has given me. For example, I realized I could encourage the first-time mother on my list with a home-baked meal (using the gift of hospitality) to help her after she came home from the hospital. Intercession is another gift of mine, so I could certainly pray for a young person I know who is wandering far from the Lord. Exhortation is another gift, so I could schedule to meet with a teen girl I know to be a sounding board as she struggles with some decisions in her life.

Corinne and Julie challenged me to look at my life and open my eyes to the people God has put there. What have I been missing? Who is God calling me to help, and what is He asking me to do?

I’d like to challenge you to do the same thing. Fill out your circle of influence. Ask God to show you who may be right under your nose that could benefit from some of your time and resources. What are you missing, maybe because you’re looking for the “big” thing?

Well, God does has something big for each of us to do, and often times He has us start right where we are. What’s He putting on your heart today?

Pray on!