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When the word “prayer” is said to you what comes to mind? This is a question Tracy Balzer asks in her book Thin Places. Guilt? Longing? Confusion? Consolation? Desolation? Prayer is important and her chp on prayer provides a way to add depth and perspective and variety to our prayers.
Who taught you to pray and what did that person teach you to pray? What do you think of the habit of blessing the ordinary tasks of your day, including your keyboard or your dishes or your walking the dog or your driving the car? Do you regularly pray any of the Celtic prayers? Make any use of the Celtic blessings?
Tracy’s chapter is a nice survey of the themes of Celtic prayers. Kris and I sometimes use Celtic Daily Prayer, especially in the evening for compline prayers. So we have come to appreciate Celtic prayers.
Here are three themes: the Trinity and a three-fold pattern; all activity can be consecrated to God; and the celebration of the immanence of Christ. In addition, the Celtic Christians prayed the Psalms and they were famous for the elegance and power of their blessings. Here’s one on washing the face each morning with three palms of water:
The palmful of the God of life,
the palmful of the Christ of love,
the palmful of the Spirit of peace,
Triune
Of grace.

She has a wonderful sampling of Celtic prayers and draws on Carmichael’s famous Carmina Gadelica. When I was reading her chapter I wished that I had included an entire chapter just on Celtic prayers in my Praying with the Church.
I want to include one of her prayers, called St. Patrick’s Breastplate. I know it is long, very long in fact, but do read it. It’s worth it and is a great sample of Celtic prayers. Any comments on it?
I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.
I bind to myself today
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.
I bind to myself today
The virtue of the love of seraphim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection unto reward,
In prayers of Patriarchs,
In predictions of Prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faith of Confessors,
In purity of holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.
I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.
I bind to myself today
God’s Power to guide me,
God’s Might to uphold me,
God’s Wisdom to teach me,
God’s Eye to watch over me,
God’s Ear to hear me,
God’s Word to give me speech,
God’s Hand to guide me,
God’s Way to lie before me,
God’s Shield to shelter me,
God’s Host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or with many.
I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of witches, and smiths, and druids,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.
Christ, protect me today
Against every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the poop [deck],
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.
I have taken this prayer from a Catholic online encyclopedia.

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