The Prayer of Saint Patrick

March 18, 2013, 0 Comments

Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day. It is a holiday celebrated by few in the manner that Patrick would likely approve. He was a wild man for God. He was a slave who became a missionary to his oppressors. If you have not read the true story of his life, I hope you will find time to do so.

One of the more well-known parts of Patrick’s life is his “Breastplate Prayer.” Made up of beautiful parts, the whole is soul-stirring. It is called the “Lorica” and also “The Deer’s Cry.” According to tradition, St. Patrick Uttered it while on his way to Tara, where he was for the first time to confront the power of the Pagan High-King of Ireland. Assassins were in wait for him and his companions, but as he chanted the hymn it seemed to the hidden band that a herd of deer went by.

I hope it will give you cause to dare something wild for God.

The Lorica

I bind unto myself today

the strong Name of the Trinity,

by invocation of the same,

the Three in One, and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever,

by power of faith, Christ’s Incarnation;

his baptism in Jordan river;

his death on cross for my salvation;

his bursting from the spicèd tomb;

his riding up the heavenly way;

his coming at the day of doom:

I bind unto myself today.


I bind unto myself the power

of the great love of cherubim;

the sweet “Well done” in judgment hour;

the service of the seraphim;

confessors’ faith, apostles’ word,

the patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls;

all good deeds done unto the Lord,

and purity of virgin souls.


I bind unto myself today

the virtues of the starlit heaven

the glorious sun’s life-giving ray,

the whiteness of the moon at even,

the flashing of the lightning free,

the whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,

the stable earth, the deep salt sea,

around the old eternal rocks.


I bind unto myself today

the power of God to hold and lead,

his eye to watch, his might to stay,

his ear to hearken, to my need;

the wisdom of my God to teach,

his hand to guide, his shield to ward;

the word of God to give me speech,

his heavenly host to be my guard.


Christ be with me,

Christ within me,

Christ behind me,

Christ before me,

Christ beside me,

Christ to win me,

Christ to comfort

and restore me.

Christ beneath me,

Christ above me,

Christ in quiet,

Christ in danger,

Christ in hearts of

all that love me,

Christ in mouth of

friend and stranger.


I bind unto myself today

the strong Name of the Trinity,

by invocation of the same,

the Three in One, and One in Three.

Of whom all nature hath creation,

eternal Father, Spirit, Word:

praise to the Lord of my salvation,

salvation is of Christ the Lord.


Words attributed to St. Patrick (372-466)

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