Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sabbatical #25: “Lorica” Prayer (Path of Celtic Prayer #6)

“Lorica” prayer is “breastplate” prayer, prayer for protection. This isn’t self-preservation for its own sake. Rather, it is that one may fulfill what God has called a person to do in this life and have the strength to do it.

This can be challenging for us on two fronts. First, many of us may have a tendency to miss the heart of the prayer and make it about us and our longevity rather than our commitment to fulfilling God’s mission with our lives. Our lives are not our own – they belong to God.

The other challenge is that we, at least I, often think I go to the doctor to get healthy. The modern mind thinks health is largely in our own hands – unlike the Celts who lived on the edge of life and death more often than not. Now don’t get me wrong. I love those who have discovered God’s ways through science and medicine for the benefit of us all. But let us not forget that God has our hairs numbered. He’s in control. He holds our lives in His hands. Let’s pray to Him for protection.

An example prayer is this “Breastplate of Laidcenn”…

O God, defend me everywhere
With your impregnable power and protection.
Deliver all my mortal limbs,
Guarding each with your protective shield,
So the foul demons shall not hurl their darts
Into my side, as is their wont.

Deliver my skull, hair-covered head, and eyes,
Mouth, tongue, teeth, and nostrils,
Neck, breast, side, and limbs,
Joints, fat, and two hands.

Be a helmet of safety to my head,
To my crown covered with hair,
To my forehead, eyes, and triform brain,
To snout, lip, face, and temple.

To my chin, beard, eyebrows, ears,
Chaps, cheeks, septum, nostrils,
Pupils, irises, eyelids, and the like,
To gums, breath, jaws, gullet.

Protect my spine and ribs and their joints,
Back, ridge, and sinews with their bones;
Protect my skin and blood with kidneys,
The area of the buttocks, nates with thighs.
Protect my hams, calves, femurs,
Houghs and knees with knee-joints;
Protect my ankes and shins and heels,
Shanks, feet with their soles.

Protect my toes growing together,
With the tips of the toes and twice five nails;
Protect my breast, collarbone and small breast,
Nipples, stomach, and navel.

Protect the whole of me with my five senses,
Together with the ten created orifices,
So that from soles of feet to crown of head
I shall not sicken in any organ inside or out. (pp. 125-126)
Did they forget anything? I'm not even sure of what all those are. Bottom line: God is our protector. Pray for your protection and of those who God puts on your heart.

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