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Acknowledging the Presence of Christ

When Leighton Ford, author of The Attentive Life, Discerning God’s Presence in All Things opened his lecture on attending and listening to God with this prayer, he grabbed my attention. I had never heard this prayer before. Resonating with familiar words of scripture, this prayer, attributed to St. Patrick, focuses on the all-encompassing presence of Christ and is worth repeating at the beginning of each new day.


When Leighton Ford, author of The Attentive Life, Discerning God’s Presence in All Things opened his lecture on attending and listening to God with this prayer, he grabbed my attention. I had never heard this prayer before. Resonating with familiar words of scripture, this prayer, attributed to St. Patrick, focuses on the all-encompassing presence of Christ and is worth repeating at the beginning of each new day.

Christ, as a light
illumine and guide me.
Christ, as a shield
overshadow 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.

From the back-story, one can just imagine that St. Patrick clung to the fact of God’s presence during the many dark days of his life. Did you know that Patrick gave his life for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ? March 17 is not just about wearing the green and shamrocks!

You wonder by this prayer, if Patrick in his most desperate moments did not experience the same powerful presence of Christ that Paul wrote about. Paul declared that even though all forsook him at his first defense in Rome, "… the Lord stood at my side" (II Timothy 4:17)

Born in England in 389 Patrick was captured by pirates and taken to Ireland as a slave at the age of sixteen. After six years he escaped and made his way back to England. Back in his homeland and free, Patrick grew in his love for God as well as God’s global purposes, and made it his life’s mission to bring the good news of the gospel back to the very people who had enslaved him.

As the people of Ireland heard the message of the gospel for the first time, God did an amazing work and thousands of Irish men, women, and children turned to Christ. From 432 to 462 he worked among the Celts of Ireland and, despite the efforts of Druid priests God used him to make the island a strong center of Celtic Christianity.

With St. Patrick, as believers in Christ we can cling to this critical promise the Lord left us- "I will never leave you nor forsake you."(Hebrews 13:5) " I will be with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20) May His Presence be so real to you today.

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Gail Seidel

Gail Seidel served as Mentor Advisor for Spiritual Formation in the Department of Spiritual Formation and Leadership at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) and as an Adjunct Professor in the D Min in Spiritual Formation in the D Min Department at Dallas Theological Seminary. She has a BA in English from the University of Texas, a Masters in Christian Education from Dallas Seminary and a D Min in Spiritual Formation from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She is a contributor to the textbook, Foundations of Spiritual Formation, Kregel Academic. She served as co-director for Christian Women in Partnership Russia with Entrust, an international church leadership-training mission. She and her husband Andy live in Fredericksburg, Texas. They have 2 married children and 6 wonderful grandchildren--Kami, Kourtney, Katie, Mallory, Grayson, and Avery.