Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.
Isaiah 55:3 (NIV)
In the Celtic faith there was a rich tradition of prayer which was passed down from one generation to the next through oral tradition. Simple rhymes and metres made them easy to memorise. Through the course of a lifetime a person learnt hundreds of these prayers and would pray or sing them on a daily basis.
The decline in the use of Gaelic resulted in these prayers falling into disuse and virtual extinction by the 19th Century. Fortunately a number of them were translated and recorded by Alexander Carmichael, a Scot, and published in a set of several volumes called Carmina Gadelica. The prayers preserved by Carmichael may be old, yet in the old there may be something new; something helpful for 21st Century people who are starving for intimacy and friendship with God that is simple, about everyday life, and infused with grace.
If ever there was a season marked by frenetic activity, it’s Advent. The Christmas dash doesn’t leave much time for anything – least of all prayer. That’s why, with five days to go to Christmas, an invitation is extended . . . an invitation to pause and pray; to renew your closeness and camaraderie with God, and, in the Celtic tradition, to enjoy the simple pleasure of walking with God and receiving grace from Him through the course of the day.
With this in mind, here’s one of my favourite Celtic prayers . . . it may help you to slow down and open your heart to the Triune God. (Note: It may be useful to read the prayer slowly and to read it over a few times):
God to Cover me.
“I cover myself today
With God’s almighty love
I clothe myself with grace
And patience from above
With Triune power of truth,
My willing feet are shod
Heaven’s wisdom crowns my head
And leads my soul to God”