What shall I render to the LORD
For all His benefits toward me?
I will take up the cup of salvation,
And call upon the name of the LORD.
I will pay my vows to the LORD
Now in the presence of all His people.
- Psalm 116.12-14
This is why I cannot remain silent (further, it would be inappropriate to do so) about the great favours and graces which the Lord deigned to grant me in the land of my captivity. For the way to make repayment for that revelation of God through capture and enslavement is to declare and make known His wonders to every race under heaven.
- Patrick, Confession, British, 5th century
Patrick’s motivation for ministry was clear: he was profoundly grateful for the grace God showed him through six years of enslavement. The more he drank of the Lord’s salvation, the more grateful and fruitful he became.
As a youth, Patrick had been kidnapped by Irish raiders from his home in the west of Britain and sold as a slave in Ireland. Once he got over the terror and depression of the situation, he came to see his captivity as God’s judgment for the flippant and casual way he had exercised his faith in Jesus to that point.
Patrick knew he deserved God’s judgment; yet God showed him mercy, drawing the youth to Himself through prayer, and continuing to comfort and encourage him. Over the course of six years, Patrick grew so close to God that he prayed a hundred times a day, and as many times during the night as well, as he reported in his Confession.
The Celtic Revival thus began in prayer, with one man seeking more of the salvation of God.
This constant imbibing of the Spirit in prayer paid off. Patrick experienced God’s forgiveness and presence through those lonely days and nights, watching sheep in the Irish countryside. Increasingly, he grew to love the Lord Who had been so just and kind to Him. He resolved, by whatever means he could, to make known the goodness and mercy of God to everyone who would listen.
Which is precisely what he did. Led by God in a dream, Patrick escaped his captivity and made his way back home. But he was only there for a short time before, led by another vision, he returned to Ireland to proclaim Jesus to his former captors.
Compare this with the reticence of so many believers today when it comes to talking about our faith. Would that we had more the attitude of Patrick and the psalmist! Perhaps if we had more of the salvation on which Patrick was drunk, we might have more of the faith he demonstrated?
I find this image in Psalm 116 most instructive: Hoist the glass of salvation for all to see and join in; toast the God of salvation; then drink deeply of the Lord’s salvation until you’re filled with joy and gratitude in the Spirit (Eph. 5.18-21).
Thus filled with the Gospel and the Spirit – drunk with the salvation of the Lord – go forth to live for Christ in every area of your life, as He flows rivers of living water through you to everyone you meet (Jn. 7.37-39).
This is the only reasonable response to all that God has done for us. Hold Him up for all to see; call on all others to join us in honoring and celebrating Him; fill our lives with His goodness and truth, so that we obey Him in the presence of all people.
This was the example of Patrick’s life. By faithfully seeking the Lord in His Word and prayer, we, too, can have this kind of life with God.
Aren’t we all rather tired of a merely routine faith, one that goes through the motions of faith and goodness, but lacks any power for turning our world rightside-up for Jesus?
Drink down the salvation of the Lord, brethren, more and more each day, as you commune with Him in His Word and wait on Him in prayer. Then go forth – filled with the Spirit – to walk as an eager and obedient witness to Jesus Christ!
You’ll fill yourself up with what you love, whether the things of this world or those of the Lord, and what you fill your soul with will determine the course and character of your life (Eph. 5.18-21).
Remember Patrick, and be filled with the salvation of the Lord.
Psalm 116.10-14 (Mit Freuden Zart: All Praise to God Who Reigns Above)
Afflicted, I believe His Word, though lying men would undo me.
What shall I render to the Lord for all His blessings to me?
Salvation’s cup I lift above and call upon the God of love
And pay my vows most truly.
Lord, there is nothing more precious than love for You, if only we will perform it. Adapted from Oengus mac Oengobann, Féilire Oengusso
Men at Prayer
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T. M. Moore, Principal
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Da Paor, p. 96.