Early Christians in the British Isles who favoured a 'Celtic' form of spirituality often spoke and prayed about God's protective 'circling' presence. The 'Caim' (a Gaelic word for encompassing, usually pronounced kyme) was the name given to these circling prayers.

Circling prayers have become one of the distinctive modern expressions of Celtic spirituality. Here is a typical modern version of a caim:


Circle us Lord,
Keep love within, keep hatred out.
Keep joy within, keep fear out.
Keep peace within, keep worry out.
Keep light within, keep darkness out.
May you stand in the circle with us, today and always.

Taken from St Cuthbert's website



Perhaps the most famous of the ancient circling prayers was written by St Patrick:
Image from Wikipedia

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all who love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

From St Patrick's Breastplate



These types of prayers are relatively easy to learn by heart and you can pray for others using them by substituting 'you' or a name in place of 'me' and 'us'.
For instance, if you are sitting quietly with someone who is ill, you can say one of these prayers in your heart for the sick person.

May God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit circle you with his peace. Amen.

5 comments

  1. Jayne  

    13 October 2009 at 19:54

    Lovely Kath, I really find these short, logical prayers very comforting. x

  2. David Russell Mosley  

    14 October 2009 at 15:45

    I love these kinds of prayers, though two problems I have. 1. That portion of the Lorica is simply that a portion, it is much longer. Also, we have no assurance that Patrick actually wrote the Lorica.

    That being said, I think the short prayers that can be memorized are wonderfully helpful for our spirituality. Have you ever read any of the Carmina Gadelica by Alexander Carmichael? You would probably like that.phori

  3. Kath Williamson  

    14 October 2009 at 23:26

    Yes David - I do like them - just Googled it. I particlarly like this onee:

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/cg1/cg1005.htm

  4. John  

    18 October 2009 at 15:33

    Wonderful, thanks for all the insights on Celtic spirituality. Much appreciated.

  5. Diana  

    14 March 2012 at 13:58

    I like these prayers connected with our celtic roots. It is the prove that we can share our culture with our beliefs.