I arise today
To witness a mighty strength:
God’s power to guide me.
Patrick of Ireland (389-461)
Did you know that St. Patrick was one of the first missionaries to spread Christianity within Ireland? I had not previously heard the history of the man behind St. Patrick’s Day, but according to History.com:
It is known that St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century. At the age of sixteen, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family’s estate. They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity. During this time, he worked as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to his religion for solace, becoming a devout Christian.
After more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick escaped. According to his writing, a voice—which he believed to be God’s—spoke to him in a dream, telling him it was time to leave Ireland. After escaping to Britain, Patrick reported that he experienced a second revelation—an angel in a dream tells him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Soon after, Patrick began religious training, a course of study that lasted more than fifteen years. After his ordination as a priest, he was sent to Ireland with a dual mission—to minister to Christians already living in Ireland and to begin to convert the Irish. Although there were a small number of Christians on the island when Patrick arrived, most Irish practiced a nature-based pagan religion.
As I prepare to leave on Saturday for the mission trip to Dublin, Ireland, it comforts me to know that I am in good company. Unlike Patrick, however, I had no dreams or angels telling me to visit Ireland. Although I have never visited the country, I am drawn to it nonetheless. Like many of us, some of my ancestors were Irish.
I do not believe that the country of Ireland needs the love of Jesus any more or any less than any other country. There are hurting people everywhere. I can serve God anywhere. Lately, I have been pondering the notion of being called versus driven, as my friend Hilary describes in this post. Like Hilary, I am very driven. However, I now realize that my busyness can get in the way of God’s calling. Hilary says, “I am now in the process of stripping everything away except that which I am called to do in this season of life.” I cannot stop thinking about this, and I want to do the same thing.
I do realize that God has called me to go on this trip to Ireland. I don’t know all of the things he is planning for me or for the trip as a whole. But I am praying that my expectations don’t get in the way of God’s perfect and sovereign plan.
Some of my other prayer requests related to the trip:
- Pray that God puts me in situations where I can use my unique abilities to reach people—and in situations where I have absolutely no abilities so that his power shows through.
- Pray for safe travel for our group of twelve (travel days: May 16 and May 24).
- Pray that I can truly listen to those people I encounter—only then will I hear what they need. People are hurting; I pray that my actions and words will point them to Jesus, the only one who can make them whole.
Thanks, internet friends! If you have any prayer requests, please leave them in the comments and I will add them to my list.