Author’s Note: I’m going back to my Christian roots in the next few pieces. I’d like to look at the St. Patrick’s Breastplate prayer and analyze how much a Protestant could pray.
St. Patrick’s Breastplate is a well-loved prayer. Originally, it was thought St. Patrick wrote it himself as he prepared to convert an Irish king and his pagan subjects to Christianity. Also called “The Cry of the Deer” or “The Lorica of St. Patrick,” it has recently had its authorship called into question.
If you’d like, you can review the full text at its page on Our Catholic Prayers. I intend to take it in “paragraph” chunks. My goal is each piece in the series should be limited to 500 words or less.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
This is probably an acceptable chunk to pray. Scripture supports that there is just one God (Mark 12:29, NIV) who created everything (Colossians 1:15-16, NIV). Arising in the morning is the first thing we do, and this chunk shows a desire that God is first and foremost (Matthew 6:33, NIV). As for the Trinity, it is not directly named in the Bible. However, there are points where it can be seen as in the Baptism of Christ (Matthew 3:16-17, NIV) or when Jesus Himself refers to it in praying for His disciples (John 16:12-15, NIV).
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.
This is basically a restatement summarizing the entire Gospel story from Christ’s birth in Bethlehem through his death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. Jesus discusses his descent for a final judgment in Matthew 25:31-46.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.
Cherubim (Ezekiel 10:16-17, NIV), angels (lots of references, but my personal favorite is Psalm 91:11-12), and archangels (1 Thessalonians 4:16, NIV) are all mentioned in numerous Bible stories for strength, obedience, and service to God’s will.
Conversely, it is commonly accepted that Satan and his demons fell through prideful rebellion and unwillingness to serve. While there is no direct story from Scripture, Isaiah 14:12-14 is considered a reference to this situation.
1 Peter 1:3-4 clearly references hope of the resurrection of the dead and an inheritance.
Patriarchs, prophets, and apostles are clearly mentioned; virgins appear in a parable by Jesus; but confessors and righteous men are not so direct. It could be argued though that all these categories would be covered by the great “cloud of witnesses” in Hebrews 12:1.