How often do you ask God to protect you on your journey? Do you do it each day? Only when you have a long trip to take?
In the prayer Jesus taught us to pray, He included a request for protection against the enemy of our souls. Luke 11:4b, And lead us not into temptation. How often do you ask God to protect you from the enemy’s ploys against you each day? The Celtic Christians took this kind of praying seriously. So many of their prayers are requests for God to keep them safe from the enemy. Here is a famous example from part of St. Patrick’s Prayer:
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 when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
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.
—St. Patrick, 433 A. D.
I am inspired to consider how prayers of protection can keep me in better touch with God and guarantee His presence at all times. I imagine Jesus taught us to pray like this because He wants us to grasp that part of prayer is asking for protection. I’m not saying that God does not protect us when we do not pray for protection. I can witness to this as I was driving home in an unfamiliar area late at night on one of the last days of my contacts and mistakenly ended up driving down a one-way ramp the wrong way. It could have been disastrous; and it certainly unnerved me, but it also showed me God’s protection over me even when I don’t realize that I need it.
I think there is something to realizing that there are spiritual dangers out there that only God and prayer can conquer. I have been more conscious of praying daily for my protection and the protection of others. We have a great ministry of prayer. Let me pray for you using another Celtic Prayer:
May God be a bright flame before you,
Be a guiding star above you,
Be a smooth path below you,
Be a kindly shepherd behind you,
Today, tomorrow and for ever.