Fighting spiritual battles

“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow
And I stand face to face with the enemy
I will know that I am not forsaken
You surround me
When the fire’s at my feet.”

Jeremy Camp – My Defender

The Irish have always been a spiritual people-even before St. Patrick arrived to convert them to Christianity in the fifth century. I started praying The Lord’s Prayer in primary school, age 4 in County Armagh. I continued the practice into high school, in the city of Armagh, which is the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland.

Saying prayers aloud is part of the rich spiritual heritage of Ireland.

The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be your name.
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done on earth
as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory
forever and ever.

St. Patrick’s Breastplate is contained in the ancient Book of Armagh in Ireland, from the early ninth century. I heard it first in Armagh Girls High School, my high school, at age 11.  St. Patrick is said to have written this prayer to strengthen himself with God’s protection as he prepared to confront and convert Loegaire, high king of Ireland.

St. Patrick’s Breastplate
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.

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