Green beer, revelry, parades, and dyeing the river green.
These are the things we think about to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
However, when I think of Saint Patrick, I think of one of the greatest missionaries to have ever walked the planet. Born in Wales, trafficked as a teenager and sold into slavery in Ireland. Patrick miraculously escaped six years later, then after a time of preparation felt called back to the island of his captivity as a missionary. During his lifetime, despite early persecutions, he was instrumental to the success of Christianity on the island. By the time of his death he had planted nearly 500 churches.
In honor of Patrick’s service, this is my St. Patrick’s Day Prayer for the American Church:
Loving Father, Creator and Sustainer of our land. You are our Compass, our Standard, our Protector, and sole Provider.
We are lost without you. In our own power we chose to make the Gospel about us. We are so busy being religious that we forget that it’s not only about us, it’s also about the lost.
We are lost without you. We cannot sustain ourselves. We cannot rule ourselves. We cannot protect ourselves. We cannot provide for our people alone. We need you.
Break our hearts, Lord. Help us to order our lives in ways that respect your Word.
We are thankful, God, for Patrick’s ministry in Ireland. You called him from bondage to reach his captors. Instead of resentment you, you filled his heart with love. Instead of a life filled with nightmares from his past, he fulfilled his dreams day by day in the light of day.
Raise up among us a new Patrick in our nation. A person to renew the heart of our nation for you. Millions among us have never heard Your Name nor felt Your presence nor tasted Your Grace.
Prepare a young man or woman set free by your Spirit, who knows no fear, who will escape their present bondage and yet return to reach their captors.
Awaken that person today, Lord. Echo Your calling in their ear. Begin in them an earnest desire to be filled with Your knowledge. Give them wisdom and understanding to penetrate to the marrow of our culture. Help them to cast out of our country far more dangerous realities than snakes.
Give them boundless energy and laser-like focus.
Open our ears, eyes, and heart to this new Patrick. Help us accept this person as Your servant among us.
Refresh us, Lord. Awaken us, Lord. Remind us, Lord. Expand us, Lord.
We need you now more than ever. Save us from modern day druids, from those who make us serfs, and from those who force us to acknowledge their power over Yours.