This month many people around the world will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, honoring the renowned missionary to Ireland. Patrick had a passion to win people to Christ, but he was well aware of the fierce spiritual battle this entailed.
Each day, he would pray a beautiful prayer that became known as St. Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer – recognizing his need to put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). The prayer begins with these stirring words:
I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity…
Like Patrick, I want to arise through God’s mighty strength. But on some mornings I arise in a fog of despair. I must claw my way through a veil of guilt and accusation, back into the dawning light of truth and breath.
On such mornings, negative thoughts take my heart hostage, saying I’m a lousy Christian…a terrible friend…a failure as a mother…a selfish person who’s not able to love well. Why even get out of bed on such days?
But St. Patrick’s prayer continues: I arise today…through the strength of His resurrection…
Well, okay then. I don’t arise today through my strength to figure it out or to pull it off or to change or to become an amazing woman who loves everyone perfectly. I certainly don’t arise by arguing with myself and with the accusing oppressor of my soul.
Instead, I arise today by turning my gaze onto Jesus and what He has accomplished for me. I don’t arise today by my strength, but by His.
Even when the enemy would bury me under a landslide of accusation and shame, I will arise. I will turn my gaze onto my Jesus and His finished work on my behalf. I’ll take my gaze off of me and my performance and turn it onto the King and His character: His faithfulness. His goodness. His mercy. His strength. His might.
So I begin to ask Jesus for the truth, so I can tell it to myself. I may have failed, but I am not a failure:
I arise today, through God’s strength to pilot me, God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me, God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me, God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me, God’s shield to protect me, God’s host to save me From snares of devils, From temptation of vices, From everyone who shall wish me ill, afar and near.
I hide myself in Him. And in Him I find strength to rise. For He does not accuse me. He blesses me. He invites me further up and further in to be changed into His likeness, not gazing at myself but at Him. Perfection. Might. My Victor. My Savior. Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.
Because of Jesus, I am arising! Will you join me?