Friday, March 9, 2012

Caim Prayers

Caim prayer with triqueta cross
Sweet tweener and I are doing a history unit on the life of St. Patrick since it is March ☺.  Thus the inspiration for the above piece of art work.  We are looking at "Illuminated Text" and the spirituality of the early Christians who responded to God's call in this dark time in history.  In our research, we have come across an ancient form of prayer called "caim"; here is an explanation of such prayers, gathered from our research:
When words get in the way or it seems impossible to focus, a caim prayer may be helpful.   The words of the caim are intricately connected to a circle, either a "prayer circle" of people or some sort of individual movement involving a circle.  The circle represents the encircling, encompassing love of God as spoken of in Psalm 125:2 (NIV) - "As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore." (A circle also represents His eternal nature.) The physical movement helps to calm an anxious mind!  The symbolism of the circle focuses the spirit on God.  The simplicity of the words helps to still the entire heart...Tracing the prayer with your finger as you pray is a simple way to practice this type of prayer.
The word "Caim" is an old Gaelic word meaning:  "protecting", "encircling", "sanctuary", loop or circle and has been passed down from the ancient Celtic church.  There are several prayers called caim, and the individual is encouraged to adapt them according to need.  The prayers themselves and more information can be found here, here, and here.  I so appreciate Valerie Sjodin's art, and she has a caim prayer piece here.
In the above piece, the caim prayer can be found in these words forming a circle:

                       Circle me Lord,                            
keep hope within
and despair without

Circle me Lord
keep peace within
and turmoil out.

Circle me Lord
keep comfort near
and discouragement far.

The interior circle is made of scriptures referring to God's peace as well as the entirety of John 14 -

Not able to find celtic knotwork circles that will enlarge crisply, I opted to create another text circle outside of the caim prayer.  The words are Scripture:

Now may the God of hope 
fill you with all joy and peace in believing, 
so that you will abound in hope 
by the power of the Holy Spirit.  
Romans 15:13 NASB
Joining with Jennifer and other creatives at Sneak Peek Fridays