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Celtic art of knitting work and prayer together

The Celtic Art of Knitting Work and Prayer Together

Celtic Christians lived an intertwined life of work and prayer, knitting the two together in such a way that the work of the day became the prayer of life.

In her book, The Celtic Way of Prayer, Esther De Waal explains the Celtic practice of work and prayer. “… there was no separation of praying and living; praying and working flow into each other, so that life is to be punctuated by prayer, become prayer.”

Morning hygiene happened slowly and in the name of the Trinity as each palm of water was splashed upon the face.

The palmful of the God of Life,

The palmful of the Christ of Love,

The palmful of the Spirit of Peace,

Triune

Of grace.

The task of making the bed became a time of prayer as seen in this Irish prayer, one of many collected in 1906 by Douglas Hyde.

I make this bed

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit

In the name of the night we were conceived,

In the name of the night we were born,

In the name of the day we were baptized,

In the name of each night, each day,

Each angel that is in the heavens.

Alistair MacLean recorded this prayer in Hebridean Altars for days when our workload seems overwhelming or dull.

Even though the day be laden

and my task dreary

and my strength small,

a song keeps singing

in my heart.

For I know that I am Thine.

I am part of Thee.

Thou art kin to me,

and all my times

are in Thy hand.

And finally, this prayer from Hebridean Altars:

Seven times a day, as I work upon this hungry farm, I say to Thee, “Lord, why am I here? What is there here to stir my gifts to growth? What great things can I do for others—I who am captive to this dreary toil?” And seven times a day Thou answerest, “I cannot do without thee. Once did My Son live thy life, and by His faithfulness did show My mind, My kindness, and My truth to men. But now He is come to My side, and thou must take His place.”

What comes out of your heart and mouth as you work your way through your day?

In Him Together, Susan Gaddis

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. mary

    Usually gratefullness. I’m so grateful to have a home to clean and a family to enjoy. Yes, there are days when I’m exhausted and cranky with the chores, but so quickly the Lord pulls my thoughts back around to the fact that I am blessed. Unbelievably so.

  2. Daniella

    I agree with Mary; speaking gratefulness for my blessings has become my daily focus. A few years ago, when I started following FlyLady.net, I laughed at the fact that she called her house work “home blessing”. But I realized that it was such an appropriate title for what I do every week. This morning, as the kids followed me around with their dust rags and squirt bottles, I came close to tears hearing them verbally blessing the windows that let the light in and blessing their beds that they sleep in and saying “Thank you, Jesus” for having a house to clean. I’m modeling thankfulness for them, even when I don’t always feel thankful. That verse about the word of the Lord not returning void comes to mind when I hear them imitating my prayers. Thanks for posting these blessings, Susan. I’ll be using them during my next home blessing!

  3. Susan Gaddis

    Mary, I do enjoy your home and it is a blessing to those who cross your doorway. And Dani, how sweet to involve your children in learning gratefulness through housework. I could picture them in my mind following you around and squirting everything in sight. Thanks for the smile before bed tonight.

  4. Cathy

    Well, Mary and Dani put me to shame. In my circumstance now my prayers are all grumpy and pitiful. It’s always when, when, how, why. Not very pretty is it?
    It’s interesting how we think we have mastered the “being content in all things” until the whole of our lives are changed and the “all things” becomes something (or nothing) completely different.
    Thanks to you, Susan, and these young women I am inspired to move in gratefulness today.

  5. Lilly Green

    Ah, to slow down and make every moment intentional rather than feeling a victm of my schedule. That is good.

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