Celtic Christianity Part 7 – Celtic Prayer

candlesThis is the final installment in this series of blogs about Celtic Christianity and is about the distinctive aspects of prayer in Celtic Christianity. The Celts had a great longing for God; they have been referred to as “God-intoxicated.” God was no casual diversion for the Celts whose world was difficult and usually short. Calvin Miller in his book The Path of Celtic Prayer: An Ancient Way to Contemporary Joy says “In desperate times, living becomes an altar where we pray and sing because the only good news of the day is that God lives longer than we do.”

Miller talks about the importance of prayer in the lives of the Celtic Christians and notes six types of Celtic prayer. These include:

  • Trinity prayer which emphasized praying to the full Godhead: Father, Son, and Spirit.
  • Praying the scripture which focuses on the psalms and gospels. As Miller says: “When the heart adores Christ as it reads the Bible, it transcends the act of repeating mere words…it becomes an act of adoration. Reading then becomes prayer.”
  • Nature prayer which emphasized the Celtic belief that God could be found in nature.
  • Long, wandering prayer which is praying during a journey, always thanking God for the day and asking God to reveal his will.
  • The Lorica prayer; a lorica is a breastplate and this type of prayer was used to call on God to protect the petitioner with grace.
  • The confession prayer which is really an account of a person’s spiritual pilgrimage rather than what we typically think of as confession.

Those who are drawn to Celtic spirituality today are seeking a more vibrant and all-encompassing way of relating to God. As Miller notes, the example of the Celts can be a “new way of bringing vitality to your walk with Christ” as you learn how “these ancient lovers of God were able to strip away institutional business and empty religiosity that can separate us from Christ.” This explains the appeal of Celtic spirituality for those who seek an authentic relationship with the three-in-one God: Father, Son, and Spirit.

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