I love Celtic prayers. I love their simplicity, their humility, and their earthiness. I love how they take the mundane tasks of life seriously. Nothing is too humble or ordinary to be prayed over in the Celtic tradition. There are prayers for rising, kindling the fire, washing the clothes, and gathering food. All of life is sacred and lived in Godde’s presence.
In Earth Afire with God, Anamchara Books has collected Celtic prayers from the past and updated them to reflect modern life. The staff of Anamchara Books also wrote their own Celtic prayers to add to the collection. The vast majority of the prayers come from Alexander Carmichael’s Carmina Gadelica, the largest source of Celtic prayers we have reflecting over 1000 years of oral prayers and traditions from Celtic Christianity. The prayers are divided by sections like “Morning Prayers,” “Journeying,” “Enfolding Your Life in God,” and “Celebrating the Seasons,” making it easy to find a prayer for a specific situation. The arrangement of prayers within each section have a nice flow from ancient life to modern life as shown by these two prayers from the “Working” Section.
“Prayer for Starting the Work Day”
Lord Jesus, who worked at lathe and plane, with hammer and with nails,
Bless and sanctify the tools I use this day.
Lord Jesus, who worked beside His earthly father, Joseph,
Bless and watch over me and those with whom I work this day.
Lord Jesus, who knew the cares and frustrations of toil,
Bless my work.
Lord Jesus, who knew the rewards and satisfaction of toil,
Bless my work.
Lord Jesus, whose gifts of talent and ability sustain my working life,
Bless my work.
In strength and with confidence I begin my work today.
In strength and with confidence may I accomplish all I must do.
To the Glory of God my Creator, I dedicate this day.
The job I do today, Christ does it too.
May my workplace be bright with His joy.
May the Trinity be pleased with each task I do,
Creator, Child, and Spirit
And may the bright angels hover ’round my desk–
Dear presence–each hour of the day.
Let every e-mail I send go forth in truth and blessing.
May I speak only words of truth and blessing
On the phone and to my colleagues.
May no dealing of this day
Give shame to the bright people of Heaven,
The holy cloud that watches all.
May I not forget them, nor the stout Earth that gives me strength,
Nor You, fair Lord.
Earth Afire with God is a good book for those beginning their journey into Celtic prayers. It’s a good beginning point to see what Celtic prayer is like. It is also a good book for those of us who have prayed Celtic prayers for years because of its modern language, and the new prayers should inspire all who read to try their own hand at writing prayers, of any style, to the Godde who makes every facet of our lives possible. This is an excellent book of prayer that should bring any pray-er closer to Godde.