Feeling a bit vulnerable?
My wife has been sewing fabric masks for many weeks for friends, neighbors, and firefighters. It is a labor of love. Still, masks are wonderful, but limited in protective value.
We need more than cloth or paper.
The protective praying of Scripture has been a long tradition in the church. It was often used by early Christians to ask for God to watch over them in the chaos of their lives. St. Patrick penned many prayers, called lorica or “Breastplate” prayers because of their cry for God’s protection. Many of these include a Bible verse in the middle of the prayer. For example, this breastplate is born in Psalm 35:
Alone with none but thee, my God, I journey on my way;
What need I fear, when thou art near, O King of night and day?
You raise shield and armor in every land;
To help me rise and faithful stand.
More safe am I within thy hand,
Than if a host did round me stand.
Don’t forget that we need God’s protection, too. The point of breastplate praying is not that we should remain magically safe for the sake of any selfish pursuit of health or pleasure. We know that, as God’s kids, we are covered by God’s providential protection even beyond our physical health in this world. No, we pray because our lives belong to God, so as long as we are both well and safe we can continue to serve those God brings into our path. The longer we live, the fuller our service can be. A friend of mine, pastor Calvin Miller wrote:
Modern medical and technological advances tend to push God to the periphery of life, diluting our understanding that we are completely dependent on God. It is proper and right to seek God’s protection. He purifies, heals and gives us a future. And with the health he gives, we rise to take care of the business of God. When our lives are centered on Christ, we beg his protection that we may complete our dream, live until our worship is complete, and bear a saving word to all of those outside of God’s grace.
As I said, masks are wonderful, but limited in protective value.
We need more than cloth or paper.
Three examples of lorica prayers in the Bible, these wonderful benedictions become a form of direct and powerful way of claiming God’s protection. I love these “masks.”
Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. (from Psalm 32:6-7)
The LORD bless thee, and keep thee. The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. Amen. (from Numbers 6:24-26)
Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before his glorious throne with exceeding great joy, to the only wise God we give glory, honor, dominion and power, through Jesus Christ our Lord, now and forever! Amen. (from Jude 24-25)
what a beautiful post! It says exactly what needs to be said, to live is Christ, thank you for your words. May I share this on my facebook page? Your words need to be read. Thank you, Cathi (DAF)
By all means, please share. Thank you for your kind words.
Thanks Brad. Beautiful and strengthening prayers.
God Bless you today.
Geoff Vanden Heuvel
Thanks Brad – breastplate praying is a good idea. We are under attack from the powers of darkness and need protection – the breastplate of salvation through Christ.
Blessings, my friend.