How to Pray for Your Children When the World is a Scary Place

How to Pray for Your Children When the World is a Scary Place
She holds her cards close to her chest, just like her daddy. Maybe that’s why I can’t get her to say she loves me in the carpool line. When the van door swings open and the kids herd toward the back of the building, she only smiles and waves at me when I say it.

I try not to be offended. I try to understand. But every mother wants to hear those three precious words, especially when sending her child off to school for the day.

I wonder how many mothers, how many fathers will never hear those words again. Twenty children dead before lunch yesterday.

This morning, I want to shake my fist at God, I have no words to say, but he leads me to them anyway. He leads me to a prayer, one written by St. Patrick centuries ago, long before school shootings, for the purpose of protection on a journey.

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.

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.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In prediction of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.

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 way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me.

From everyone who shall wish me ill,
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me,
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.

Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
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.

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.

– From St. Patrick’s Breastplate

I know this prayer isn’t a magic formula, there are no guarantees. But if ever there was a journey in need of protection, my children and I are on it. So come Monday morning in the carpool line, whether or not she says those three words I love to hear, at least I will have prayed these over her.

(For a printable version of this prayer, please download it here.)

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