May Christ be with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ to my right, Christ to my left,
Christ where I lie down, Christ where I sit, Christ where I stand,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in the eye of every eye which looks on me,
Christ in the ear of every ear which hears me.
- Anonymous, “Patrick’s Breastplate,” Irish, 8th century
“…He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’”
- Acts 17.27, 28
The unbelieving philosophers of ancient Greece, careful observers of the world in all its parts, could not escape the conclusion that they were surrounded and sustained by God.
That doesn’t mean they knew God; Paul said they worshiped ignorantly. But they could not help sensing Him in the world, since they were made in His image, had the works of His Law written on their hearts, and lived in a world where God is, indeed, everywhere present and making Himself known (Rom. 1.18-21; 2.14, 15).
Though they didn’t know Him, they knew that they lived and had their being in Him.
Do we know this as well?
The ancient lorica or breastplate prayer, mistakenly ascribed to Patrick (although certainly reflective of his own outlook), captures that sense, shared by many Celtic Christians, of continuous awareness of the Presence of the Lord, and complete dependence on Him.
Jesus has promised to be with us always, even to the end of the age (Matt. 28.20). Do we really appreciate the intimacy and certainty of that great promise? Do we see Him Who “plays in 10,000 places” (Hopkins), with us always, never failing nor forsaking us? Do we shelter in Him, rest in Him, rely on Him, and live in the strength of His protecting and providing grace? Do we know the joy and pleasure of His Presence at every moment, in every situation?
Or do we give mere lip-service to His providential Presence and care, while we fret our way through the daily trials and travails of life, clinging merely to our own resources, wits, and skills for survival?
Moreover, while Jesus is with us where we are, we must remember also that we are with Him where He is (Eph. 2.1-6), seated at the right hand of God in heavenly places. As He looks out on our lives from the infinite vision and capacity of His eternal Kingdom, we, seated with Him, must learn to do so as well.
Do we experience His Presence with us – and our presence with Him – as real and true? As the Breastplate and Shield of our daily walk with and work for Him?
We can, and the entrance to that closer and more constant experience of the Lord is in prayer.
Call upon Jesus to come into the moments and spaces, the responsibilities and relationships, the fears and troubles, of your everyday life. Then rest in Him there, and in the promises of His Word.
Set times throughout the day to meet with Jesus in prayer, and let Him refresh your weariness and remove your doubts. Trust Him in every situation, at every moment, to show you His continuous Kingdom care over every facet of your life, past, present, and future. Let everything about your daily life be a summons to give thanks to the Lord.
Immerse yourself in the Lord Jesus Christ. Put Him on. Shelter in His Presence. Glory in His strength. Rejoice in His provision and protection. Live toward His promises. Walk in His Spirit. Trust in His all-powerful, all-wise, all-sustaining-and-upholding Word. Sing to His glory and of His all-surrounding grace and truth.
This is what it means to be saved – safe – in Jesus.
1. What will you do to increase your awareness of the Presence of Jesus throughout the day?
2. How can believers help and encourage one another in this?
Psalm 132.8-10 (Finlandia: Be Still, My Soul)
Arise O Lord! Come to Your resting place!
Your holy Presence meet with us in might.
Clothe us with righteousness in Jesus’ grace,
and we will shout to Your divine delight!
For Jesus’ sake, turn not away Your face,
but look upon us in Your holy light.
Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ all around me, Christ before me and behind me: Lord, let these not be merely words! Let them be for me the true envelope of my daily life. Arise, O Lord, and come to rest with me today, so that I…
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It is our privilege to serve you, and our joy to have you share with us in this work. The Lord supports our work through the prayerful and generous gifts of those who share our vision and are served by our ministry. Please join us in praising Him for His kindness in supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe. I ask you to seek Him in prayer, and ask Him whether He might be pleased to use you in the financial support of our work. You can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
T. M. Moore
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 Carey, p. 134.