A Writer’s Lorica

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, which tradition marks as the day of his death. Some mark the day with parades, drinking, and other festivities. I think it’s a great day for prayer, especially for writers, since the famous prayer known as “St. Patrick’s Lorica” (or “breastplate”) is attributed to him. I’ve adapted the prayer numerous times (for my children, grandchildren, etc.), so here is “A Writer’s Lorica,” based on the Breastplate of St. Patrick:

I bind to myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
Invoking the same,
The Three in One
and One in Three.

I plead for my thinking and writing today
The power of love, the power of faith,
Christ’s incarnate immanence,
The passion of his holy death,
Awareness of His imminence,
His power bursting from the spiced tomb,
His exaltation up the heavenly way,
His princely coming at the day of doom
I plead for them all today.

I invoke for my words the power
Of angels’ shout,
The sweet ‘Well done’ in judgment hour,
The voice of the seraphim,
The certainty of the Apostles,
The backbone of patriarchs,
The certainty of prophets,
And all good work done
as to the Lord and not for men.

I ask for my work today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun’s lifegiving 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 beseech for my sentences, paragraphs, and pages,
My grammar, style, usage, and punctuation,
My concepts and conceits, advances and retreats,
The power of God to inspire 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 them speech,
His heavenly host to be their guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The lie of judgment, lack of grace,
The haunting doubts that war within,
The lazy word, the easy phrase,
Such fatal flaws as these in me,
In every place and in all hours,
Against all unChristlike tendencies
I ask, in Jesus’ name, these powers.

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart’s idolatry,
Against the world’s deceitful thrills,
Against the lure of pleasing men,
Against dependence on my own skills,
Protect me, Christ, as You alone can.

Christ be with me, be all to me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ flow through me,
Christ to empty and restore me.
Christ my waking, Christ my sleeping,
Christ my thinking, Christ my feeling,
Christ my laughing, Christ my weeping,
Christ concealing and revealing.

I ask all this in the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
By Whom all nature has creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.


20 Responses to A Writer’s Lorica

  1. Cindy March 17, 2021 at 5:10 am #

    Amen. I celebrate St. Patrick’s Day all week in my kindergarten classroom at our Christian school.

    • Matt March 17, 2021 at 9:08 am #

      Beautiful ~

  2. Linda Waterman March 17, 2021 at 5:46 am #

    Beautiful Bob. Thank you for this gift as I begin today’s writing. Blessings!

  3. Jeanette-Marie Mirich March 17, 2021 at 6:36 am #

    This will resonate in my thoughts today as I pray. Thank you.

  4. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser March 17, 2021 at 6:44 am #

    Thank you for this, Bob. It’s truly lovely.

    I hope it’s OK that I offer, here, a prayer written by Andre Zirnheld, a French member of the SAS who was killed in July 1942; this remarkable testament to faith was found among his effects.

    It’s my lodestar now.

    I’m asking You God, to give me what You have left.
    Give me those things which others never ask of You.
    I don’t ask You for rest, or tranquility.
    Not that of the spirit, the body, or the mind.
    I don’t ask You for wealth, or success, or even health.
    All those things are asked of You so much Lord,
    that you can’t have any left to give.
    Give me instead Lord what You have left.
    Give me what others don’t want.
    I want uncertainty and doubt.
    I want torment and battle.
    And I ask that You give them to me now and forever Lord,
    so I can be sure to always have them,
    because I won’t always have the strength to ask again.
    But give me also the courage, the energy,
    and the spirit to face them.
    I ask You these things Lord,
    for only You can grant
    what can come only from myself.

  5. Teresa J Krager March 17, 2021 at 6:56 am #

    Amen and amen.

  6. Janet March 17, 2021 at 7:05 am #

    Beautiful! Thank you.

  7. Kirsten Panachyda March 17, 2021 at 7:09 am #

    Amen. Than you, Bob.

  8. Jeannie Waters March 17, 2021 at 7:15 am #

    Thank you for sharing this powerful prayer. I had not seen it before.

  9. Virginia Sue Graham March 17, 2021 at 7:24 am #

    I always cringe at the way the world treats St. Patrick’s Day. Thank you for giving us the joy of his beautiful prayer.

  10. Loretta Eidson March 17, 2021 at 7:28 am #

    Interesting! I’ve never paid much attention to St. Patrick’s Day, but this information is enlightening.

  11. Bruce A. McDowell March 17, 2021 at 7:52 am #

    An encouraging poem of faith in the triune God upon whom we are totally dependent. Thank you!

  12. Kristen Joy Wilks March 17, 2021 at 10:06 am #

    We celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by watching the veggie tale that so hilariously illustrates his story (even though my kids are all teens now) and eating shepherd’s pie and beer bread, yum!

  13. Debby Lee March 17, 2021 at 10:21 am #

    Wow, what a beautiful prayer. So thought provoking, and inspiring. Thank you for sharing it.

  14. Vie Herlocker March 17, 2021 at 11:59 am #

    This is so meaningful, Bob. Thank you.

  15. carolyn March 17, 2021 at 2:17 pm #

    What a beautiful and encouraging prayer.

  16. A. Keith Carreiro March 17, 2021 at 3:13 pm #

    This is a wonderful message. Thank you for sharing it with me. Blessings to you.

  17. Jean Saxby March 17, 2021 at 7:08 pm #

    A powerful prayer of protection in today’s language. I’ve printed it so I can refer to it when needed. Thanks, Bob.

  18. Debra Celovsky March 18, 2021 at 6:44 pm #

    Ah, beautiful, and amen.

  19. Carol R Nicolet Loewen March 30, 2021 at 6:47 pm #

    Wonderful! Thank you, Bob.

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