For the Celtic Christian their religious life and their everyday life were tightly bound together. They filled their days with prayer beginning with prayers of thanksgiving for waking up and continuing on to making the fire and milking the cow, all the way to prayers of thanks for the day as they went to their rest. Today we call their life style of acknowledging the Presence of the Divine the Spiritual Practice of Presence. This is probably one of the easiest of the spiritual practices because all you have to do is remember to pause when you begin and end a task and pay attention to your surroundings, letting your thoughts travel to God, breathing in grace and breathing out gratitude. The whole exercise may take no longer than one minute to re-member yourself to the Holy Spirit.
Here are a few examples of when you might mentally pause and turn your thoughts to God.
- Before you even rise from your night’s sleep, thank God for a restful night and a new day to be in the presence of the Holy.
- As you walk into your place of business, offer a prayer for the people you will meet and work with, asking God for patience and kindness when interact with others.
- As you prepare breakfast give thanks for the abundance God has graced you with and offer gratitude for the opportunity to share it with your family or friends.
- During your day occasionally pause, breathe deeply and extend gratitude toward God
- Before you go to sleep offer a prayer of thanks for a day spent with the Spirit and if there are difficulties during the day (I mean who doesn’t have those rough spots) ask for guidance for the coming day.
Those are just a few of the times you might briefly stop and re-member your place alongside the creator. I am sure you could name many more.
One of the early prayers of the Celtic people was offered as they laid the morning fire to begin the day and the one below is one of my favorites for it has a double meaning. It prays not just for lighting the homes hearth, but also the lighting of the hearts’ fire. Today this is my prayer for each and everyone one of you.
Kindling the Morning Fire
This morning, as I kindle the fire upon my
hearth, I pray that the flame of God’s
love may burn in my heart, and the
heart of all I meet today.
I pray that no envy and malice, no hatred,
or fear, may smother the flame.
I pray that indifference and apathy,
contempt and pride, may no pour
like cold water on the fire.
Instead, may the spark of God’s love light
the love in my heart, that it may burn
brightly through the day.
And may I warm those that are lonely,
whose hearts are cold and lifeless,
so that all may know the comfort of God’s love.
Ruth Jewell, ©February 18, 2014
 Van De Weyer, Robert, Celtic Prayers, a book of Celtic devotion, daily prayers and blessings, Abingdon Press, Nashville, TN, 1997, pg 26