We arise a mighty army this day – The Lorica (Breast plate) of St Patrick

Mar 18, 2021 | America, PRAY

In these times of struggle and disunity it is precious to pray the prayers of the saints who have gone before us, from Moses and David onwards. We may not have walked quite this way before, but millions upon millions of others who have gone before us have called on the name of the Lord and found Him faithful in all things at all times.

In the Irish (Hiberno-Scottish) monastic tradition, a ‘lorica’ is a prayer for protection that is recited in order to call on the power of God as a safeguard against evil in its many forms. About sixty of us prayed this together on several occasions Inauguration Day, in the light of particular threats that had been threatened, but which mercifully never materialised.

Lōrīca, in Latin, refers to body armour, in the sense of chainmail or cuirass. It is the word used to translate the Greek word in Ephesians 6:14 that we normally refer to as the ‘breast-plate’ (of righteousness).

St. Patrick is reputed to have composed this wonderful prayer of protection around about 377 AD, when an ambush was laid to try to prevent his arrival in Tara, Ireland, which, of course, is where he began to sow the seeds of the gospel that subsequently spread so rapidly throughout Ireland.

I have adapted the first half of the poem slightly adapted from St Patrick’s original prayer, before going on to fashion my own prayer in the second half. It is a particularly appropriate prayer to pray for the bitterly divided nation of America today, but one too that we can use for other major events, at significant crossroads – or simply when we feel in need of additional protection.

As we call on the Lord Him to protect us by both heavenly and earthly powers against all the snares of the evil one – not least for protection against false prophets, heretics and all snares of the evil one. Above all it reminds us that He is Immanuel – the God who is very present with His people. Do consider sharing it wider, and praying it with others.

Lorica of St. Patrick

We arise today
Through the mighty strength that comes from calling on the Holy Trinity,
with faith in His Threeness,
and confession of His Oneness
the Creator of creation.

We arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth and His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

We arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot us;
God’s might to uphold us,
God’s wisdom to guide us,
God’s eye to look before us,
God’s ear to hear us,
God’s word to speak through us,
God’s hand to guard us,
God’s way to open up before us,
God’s shield to protect us,
God’s hosts to save us
from snares of the devil,
temptations of vices,
and from every single one who desires us ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a multitude.

We summon today all these powers between us and evil,
Against every cruel and merciless power that opposes body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against the craft of idolatry,
Against the spells of witches and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts body and soul.

Christ shield us today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that reward may come in abundance.
Christ with us, Christ before us, Christ behind us,
Christ in us, Christ beneath us, Christ above us,
Christ on our right, Christ on our left,
Christ when we arise, Christ when we sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of us,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of us,
Christ in the eye that sees us,
Christ in the ear that hears us.

We arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness of the Creator of creation.

We are praying today that although the dangers remain very acute in America at this time, that the Lord will contain them as the new administration gets under way.

The Lord has made the heavens His throne;
from there He rules over everything there is. (Ps. 103:19)

We pray Your hand be outstretched in power from Heaven this day,
O Lord of Heaven’s armies, to restrain and to empower,
to rein evil back and to release true and godly purposes.

We are praying in the name of the Prince of Peace,
who is also the commander in chief of the Lord Almighty’s armies,
for the thwarting of words and works of evil intent;
and for the furtherance of Your love and truth on American soil;
In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The Lord has made the heavens His throne;
from there He rules over everything there is.

Bless the Lord, you mighty angels of His who carry out His orders,
listening for each of His commands.

Yes, bless the Lord, you armies of His angels who serve Him constantly.
Let everything everywhere bless the Lord.
Bless the Lord all His saints.
Ps. 103:20-22 The Living Bible)

I thought you might appreciate this too . . . The Lorica of St. Fursey

The arms of God be around your shoulders,
the touch of the Holy Spirit upon your head,
the sign of Christ’s cross upon your forehead,
the sound of the Holy Spirit in your ears,
the fragrance of the Holy Spirit in your nostrils,
the vision of Heaven’s company in your eyes,
the conversation of Heaven’s company on your lips,
the work of God’s Church in your hands,
the service of God and your neighbour in your feet;
a home for God in your heart,
and to God, the Father of all, your entire being.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash


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