Let's Pray: March

How can we pray well as we head into this new month?

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Do you celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day?

Saint Patrick’s story is one clouded in misconceptions, misunderstanding and stereotypes. Contrary to popular belief, Patrick did not drive all the snakes out of Ireland. He certainly didn’t dress in the emerald and shamrock-laden costumes that fill some streets during parades or celebrations. The Patron Saint of Ireland wasn’t actually Irish.

As a teenager, Patrick was taken away from his family, who lived in Roman Britain, to Ireland where he was sold into slavery. After six years, he escaped and made his way home. Believing that his experience had been in God’s hands, Patrick devoted the rest of his life to learning about and serving God. It was while training for ministry that he felt God calling him back to Ireland to share his faith. He built churches and grew communities of Christians across the island.

According to Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove in their book Common Prayer, when Patrick wasn’t out and about sharing the good news of Jesus, he “spent time praying in his favourite places of solitude and retreat.”1

Saint Patrick’s Breastplate is a prayer or ‘lorica’ attributed to Saint Patrick. It’s a prayer of protection, the latter part of which contains a repeated invocation for Jesus to be present. You can read this section of the prayer in full at the end of this resource, but there are five lines in particular that I hope can guide our prayers this month for care-experienced children and young people, the families who care for them and the communities who surround them with encouragement and support.

Christ with me,

Christ before me,

Christ behind me,

Christ on my right,

Christ on my left.

These words remind me of Jesus’ promise to always be with us as our ever-present friend. They illustrate to me that Jesus’ presence can look different as it surrounds us from every angle. They bring to mind individuals and groups who reflect the love and friendship of Jesus in a variety of ways. And as I think of the work of Home for Good, these words draw me to consider those who walk with children, young people and families.


  1. Claiborne and Wilson-Hartgrove, 2012. Common Prayer: A liturgy for ordinary radicals. Pocket edition. Page 120.

Christ before me…

I think of those who walk ahead; who clear the way, shining a light on the path, making those following in their footsteps aware of the obstacles and giving direction as they navigate their way around. I think of experienced carers and parents who are a few steps ahead on the journey and who share their wisdom, understanding and reflections with those who are newer to caring for children. I think too of the community leaders, campaigners and politicians who urge change within the systems and structures that hold care-experienced children and their families.

Christ before me…

Christ behind me…

I think of those who follow behind, who cheer and encourage. I don’t know if there are any parkrun participants out there reading this – there’s lots about parkrun that I think we can learn from when it comes to practicing community, but by far my favourite thing about the Saturday morning running event is the deliberate deployment of a ‘tailwalker’. The tailwalker is a volunteer who stays at the very back of the crowd for the duration of the run, so if you take part, you can be confident that no matter how fast or slow you go, you will never finish last.

So, I think of the tailwalkers; those who follow behind, who notice when things are starting to feel a little heavy, who are there even when it feels like everyone else is rushing past at a much faster pace, and who bring affirmation that you can do this.

Christ behind me…

Christ on my right…

I think of those who walk alongside; the friends and family members who do life together, who are present for both the highs and lows. I think of those who, in really practical ways, provide what is needed in the here-and-now – cooking a meal, helping with the school run, taking on a load of laundry. I think of those who listen, those who can be leant on, those who understand and those who pray.

Christ on my right…

Christ on my left…

I think too of the professionals who journey with children and young people; the teachers, the classroom assistants, the social workers, those who care for their health and wellbeing. Some are in a child’s life for a brief moment, others for long periods, but each has the potential to make a difference.

Christ on my left…

  • Give thanks for those who walk ahead. Let’s pray together for those carers, parents and hosts who share their wisdom, understanding and reflections with those who are newer to caring for children. Let’s give thanks this month for Home for Good Champions and Peer Support Volunteers who play their part by supporting with information sessions, Foundations courses and events, who speak with enquirers and share their stories and who facilitate and lead support groups.
  • Give thanks for those who cheer and encourage. Let’s pray for the family members, the church communities, the friends, the neighbours who show kindness and offer encouragement. Let’s give thanks for meals cooked, lifts, offered, laundry done and homework helped with. Let’s give thanks for little, unexpected gifts and for shared moments over coffee, on a walk, on the phone or via text.
  • Give thanks for those who offer professional support. Let’s pray for the teachers, the classroom assistants, the social workers, those who care for their health and wellbeing. Let’s give thanks for them this month, and pray that their impact on the children in their care will be a positive and restorative one.
  • Hold children and young people in prayer. As we consider all the different parts people can play to care for and support children and young people, let’s keep the children and young people themselves at the heart of our prayers.

Saint Patrick’s Breastplate

The beautiful thing about prayer is that there’s no one ‘right’ way to pray. Our intimate communication with the Father can be expressed in words, in song, in pictures, in silence and in so many other ways.

The practice of reciting liturgical and written prayers is one that spans generations and denominations. To participate in a prayer that has already been prayed before you, that is at present being prayed all over the world, and that will be prayed by the voices and minds of the future, is to enter into communion not just with God but with the Church. Praying words that have already been written allows for the expression of what’s in our hearts but that we can’t always find the words for. To practice the repetition of a particular prayer or set of prayers is to build rhythms and habits, allowing the words to weave themselves into our own thoughts, desires, attitudes and actions.

Whether this type of prayer is something you are used to and familiar with, or it’s totally new, we invite you to join with us in praying Saint Patrick’s Breastplate this month. You may want to carve out some time in your day or week to do so; you may find it encouraging to pray the same words a few times over the course of the month. You can pray these words for yourself, or bring to mind someone you’d like to pray for – perhaps a child, a young person or a family you know or have been thinking of – and replace the word ‘me’ with their name.

As you do so, know that you are praying words that have been prayed by followers of Jesus for hundreds of years to the God who throughout that time has remained the same. How exciting and beautiful it is to think of the many voices within our Home for Good network, reaching across the UK and beyond, uniting in one prayer.

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.

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