Before Patrick was a Saint

Captured, enslaved and left alone as a herdsman in remote Ireland at age 16, Patrick had every reason to hate his enemies. Yet Patrick prayed from that desolate land and God listened.

    It was there that the Lord opened up my awareness of my lack of faith. So I turned with all my heart to the Lord my God, and he looked down on my lowliness and had mercy on my youthful ignorance. He guarded me before I knew Him, and before I came to wisdom and could distinguish between good and evil. He protected me and consoled me as a father does for his son. — St. Patrick

The man whose life inspired the holiday celebrated around the world on March 17 described himself as “a sinner, a simple country person, and the least of all believers.” Not what you would expect from the legend who has become an encouragement to all believers that God hears our prayers.

Patrick took action on whatever God revealed to him. This faithful obedience rescued him from his six-year captivity as God led him 200 miles on foot to the very ship He had promised! Patrick returned home, reunited with family and recounted God’s blessings.

When Patrick heard the voice of God a few years later, nothing deterred him from becoming ordained and returning to serve the very pagans who had been his captors.

    In the knowledge of this faith in the Trinity, and without letting the dangers prevent it, it is right to make known the gift of God and his eternal consolation. It is right to spread abroad the name of God faithfully and without fear, so that even after my death I may leave something of value to the many thousands of my brothers and sisters – the children whom I baptized in the Lord.

Ireland was transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit burning brightly through Patrick. These converts preserved Christianity during the dark ages and their homeland became an equipping destination for missionaries.

May St. Patrick’s life embolden us to bring our desolate places to God in prayer, believing in His power for a transformed future.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

Source: Royal Irish Academy (www.confessio.ie). Except where otherwise stated, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


Barb Zeller and her husband Paul have been attending Wooddale Church since 2015 and Barb serves on the Storytelling Team.