“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, and in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.”
– St. Patrick of Ireland (389-461)
I call this St. Patrick’s 360 degrees prayer. It is said that he was an active Christian missionary in Ireland during his time. The prayer itself is a sincere plea for “Christ” to increase and the “I”, which is the self to decrease. In other words it is a passionate prayer asking Christ to reign 360 degrees in one’s life.
It’s not enough to just have Christ as our Saviour, is it? Is He also the LORD of our life? Does He reign in every area of our life?
In other words, has His Kingdom come and if so, is His will being done in and through our life?
Surrendering ourselves to Christ is asking God to actually BE God in our life. It is us exchanging our way of living for God’s way of living. We were created to be in relationship with Him. You and I can try to do things our way, live life as we please and make choices that give us temporary pleasure. The truth is that the more we rely on self, the more we will feel miserable, frustrated, empty and without purpose.
In the words of St. Augustine, “Our hearts will be restless till we find our rest in GOD.” When we are not living in relationship with God we are in fact not living life the way we were meant to live.
Contrary to popular belief, in dying to self we do not lose our individuality or personality. In dying to self we actually live. We don’t lose our self but we find our true self in Christ. The truth is that we won’t lose life, but we gain it to the fullest.
Therefore, praying the 360 degrees prayer and seeing it unfold in our life by the grace of God does not threaten our existence as a person. It does not squeeze out the fun from one’s life. In all reality, it actually solidifies and grounds us as individuals. It makes us come alive and enables us to become fully human. It gives meaning, fulfillment and purpose to our existence. It establishes our true identity,which can be found in Christ Jesus alone.
It’s easier said than done, isn’t it?
Every Christ-like action is preceded by a desire to live it. God gives us that desire and helps us to pursue it and live it.
Let us not give excuses.
Let us not be threatened.
Let us not be hesitant.
Let us not be proud.
Let us not be insecure.
Let us not be discouraged.
Let us desire Christ.
The Bible reminds us that GOD gives grace to the humble. Let us humble our self and approach Him.
May we bring our brokenness, our mess, our mistakes,our weakness and our sins to Christ and see Him deliver us and breathe purpose and passion into our life. As the Bible says, “we live and move and have our being in Christ.” May we acknowledge it and live everyday as a day that is centred on Christ from start to finish. May Christ the King reign and his kingdom be manifest in and through us.
I say “Amen” to the 360 degrees prayer.
Samuel Williams is co-founder & content director at Fluid. He is also the teaching pastor at Avenue Community Church in Toronto, Canada.