How to Pray a Celtic Christian Circle Prayer

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Have you ever heard of a circle prayer? To a Celtic Christian, a circle was a sacred space. It was a replica of the cosmos and symbolized the Celtic belief that time was circular rather than linear. God was the Creator and he inhabited the center of the cosmos and time. This belief carried over into one of their prayer expressions—the caim prayer.

To pray a caim, or encircling prayer, extend your right index finger, and turn clockwise drawing a circle around yourself in the air. Use your imagination to see yourself and those you are praying for surrounded by the safety of the Father’s care and protection.

Here are several ancient caim prayers from Celtic Daily Prayer.

Circle me, Lord. Keep protection near and danger afar.

Circle me, Lord. Keep light near and darkness afar.

Circle me, Lord. Keep peace within; keep evil out.

See how easy it is? The basic structure of a caim prayer looks like these examples. Simply insert the name of the person you are praying for and change the wording to suit the circumstances.

Circle (name), Lord. Keep (name the good you want revealed) near and (name the evil you want removed) afar.

Circle (name), Lord. Keep comfort near and discouragement afar. Keep peace within and turmoil out.

Circle (name), Lord. Keep hope within and despair without.

Have you ever tried this type of prayer—where action and words combine to give voice to your heart? Share your caim prayer with us in the comment section below.

In Him together, Susan Gaddis

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    4 Responses to How to Pray a Celtic Christian Circle Prayer

    1. mary says:

      I like the profound simplicity of this prayer. Beautiful. :-)

    2. Beth Piepenburg says:

      Ok. Linear would be one dimensional, circular would be two-dimensional, and so how about three-dimensional prayer represented by a sphere.

    3. helen roche says:

      just found your site…..what a blessing , thankyou. We’ve just begun a celtic evensong in our local church and we’re looking at circling prayers this month!

      The sacred three
      my fortress be
      encircling me
      come and be round
      my hearth and home. (Prayer from outer hebrides)

      • Susan says:

        Thanks for stopping by, Helen. The prayer you shared from Outer Hebrides is beautiful. Thank you so much! I’d love to hear how it goes with your Celtic Evensong this month with the circling prayers. As you can tell, Celtic Christianity is one of my heart treasures. Let’s keep in touch.
        Blessings to you, Susan

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