Prayer For Protection In A Hostile Environment
The Story of the “Prayer for Protection”
The “Prayer for Protection” is known the world over, and Unity is often asked how it came into existence. James Dillet Freeman explained once in his Unity Magazine column, “Life Is a Wonder”:
Let me tell you how I wrote Unity's “Prayer for Protection.”
When World War II was raging in Europe, we received many letters and phone calls from people caught in the conflict, but for a long time we did not have a prayer for protection that we were all satisfied with. This is how one came.
Silent Unity has always written a special Christmas Prayer Service just for Silent Unity workers. And in 1940 I was asked to prepare this service. We had never before needed a prayer for protection, but in 1940 we needed one, so I wrote one to go with the Christmas service. What I wrote was a little four-line verse:
“The light of Christ directs me; The love of Christ enfolds me; The power of Christ protects me; The presence of Christ upholds me.”
I had hardly finished this Christmas service before Silent Unity came to me again and asked me to write a protection pamphlet that we could send to people, so I did. It was called His Protecting Spirit.
A Prayer for Wartime
They told me they wanted affirmative prayers for protection on the back page. Among these was the verse from the 23rd Psalm: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me” (Ps. 23:4 KJV).
One of the young women who worked in Silent Unity was reading my manuscript as I wrote it, and as she finished it, she came up to me and said: “Jim, if I were a woman in England and they were dropping bombs on my roof, or if I were a soldier and someone was pointing a loaded gun at me, I wouldn't want to feel I was walking through the valley of the shadow of death. Can't you do better than that?”
I thought, You want me to do better than the 23rd Psalm? You have to be your mind. But rolling around in the back of my mind was the little verse I had written as a prayer for protection at Christmas.
How the “Prayer for Protection” Was Written
I had written it just for Silent Unity, but now it came rolling up to the front of my mind and demanded that I pay attention to it. It enticed me to see what I could make of it.
First I took the rhymes from it. I felt it would be more universally received if it was not a rhyme. Then I changed Christ to God. It had been Christ because it was a Christmas prayer, but I felt if we were going to send it around the world, God might be more acceptable to more people. So the little prayer became:
“The light of God surrounds me, The love of God enfolds me, The power of God protects me, The presence of God watches over me.”
That is the way we first printed it. Then a line came to me that I felt would make the prayer even more powerful. The line was:
“Wherever I am, God is.”
I added it as the fifth line. The “Prayer for Protection” first appeared as a four-lined prayer in 1941, but when we reprinted it in 1943, it appeared in the form it has had ever since.
“The light of God surrounds me; The love of God enfolds me; The power of God protects me; The presence of God watches over me. Wherever I am, God is!”
God’s Message of Love
The “Prayer for Protection” came through change after change, not at all “I Am There,” when I felt that God spoke those words to me.
But what is the word of God? It is possible that no prayer Unity has ever printed has reached so many people as the “Prayer for Protection,” for not only has Unity printed it over and over, but almost every Unity church uses it to conclude its services. “I Am There,” it was carried to the moon.
On the very first flight to the moon, on Apollo 11, astronaut Col. Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin carried the Unity “Prayer for Protection” with him. He did not know me or Unity.It has appeared in hundreds of different publications that have no connection with Unity, and millions of people have carried it around on cards that fit into their pocketbooks, pockets, and billfolds. It has been translated into many languages. Sometimes it appears with me as the author. Often no author is given. Sometimes other people are named as the author.
It has been changed and changed again before it reached the form that it now has that best meets people's needs. This prayer is the product of much thought and concentration and of a mind that was willing to stay open to receive divine inspiration.
I think Unity's “Prayer for Protection” is as much God's word as “I Am There” is. Sometimes God speaks to us when we don't even know it is God.
I think God has many ways of speaking to us and not only in words that we hear with our ears. I think God speaks to our hearts and minds, and sometimes God's message has nothing to do with words. God is love and intelligence and life.
More than anything we say God is, or even imagine God is, God is the one universal Presence and Power and is seeking to express Truth and beauty and good through all of us and for all of us.
5 Powerful Prayers for Protection and Safety
Our world is filled with events and situations that can cause great fear and anxiety. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and live imprisoned by fear.
We are promised in God’s Word that he is faithful and will protect us (2 Thessalonians 3:3).
God wants us to let go of fear and to live life to the fullest! (John 10:10) When you are overcome by worry, use these prayers for protection to remember who God is and the protection he has promised you.
1. Prayer for Personal Protection
Father, I come to You today, bowing in my heart, asking for protection from the evil one. Lord, we are assailed moment by moment with images on television, the internet, books and newspapers that leave us vulnerable to sin of every kind. Surround us with Your divine hedge of protection.
Encompass us round about with Your strength and Your might. Let all who take refuge in You be glad, let them ever sing for joy. And may You shelter us, that those who love Your name may exult in You. For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD, You surround him favor as with a shield.
Lord, I ask that You protect our minds. Father, the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:6) O God, set our minds on You.Let us not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds that we may prove what Your will is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
(Romans 12:2) Help us by the power of Your Spirit to think on whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, let our minds dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8)
Strengthen us in the power of Your might, O God. Dress us in Your armor so that we can stand firm against the schemes of the devil. We know that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.(Ephesians 6:10-12)
You are our keeper, O Lord, the shade on our right hand. Protect us from all evil and keep our soul. Guard our going out and our coming in. From this time and forever. In Jesus' name, Amen. – by Lynn Cooke
2. Prayer for the Protection and Safety of Family
Lord, I pray Your emotional, physical, and spiritual protection over my kids (grandkids). Keep evil far from them, and help them to trust You as their refuge and strength. I pray You will guard their minds from harmful instruction, and grant them discernment to recognize truth.
I pray You will make them strong and courageous in the presence of danger, recognizing that You have overcome and will set right all injustice and wrong one day. Help them to find rest in Your shadow, as they live in the spiritual shelter You provide for them.
Let them know that the only safe place is in Jesus, and that their home on earth is only temporary. – Ryan Duncan, Culture Editor at Crosswalk.com
3. Prayer for Children's Security
Lord, I pray that my kids (grandkids) will develop an eternal perspective and purpose, not an earthly one. Help them to see life–and every challenge–through Your eyes, eager and unafraid to share with others the good news of Jesus wherever they go.
I pray that they will set their minds on things above, not just what’s going on here, and that they will be rooted and grounded in Your love. I pray they will come to understand the extent of Your own love for them–that it surpasses all the head knowledge they will acquire in school.
I pray they will be filled up with You from morning ’til night. – Rebecca Barlow Jordan
4. “St. Patrick's Breastplate” Protective Prayer:
Celtic monks used it to start their day.The hymn was several stanzas long, and the last two stanzas were especially memorable and moving:
Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me. Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself the Name, The strong Name of the Trinity; By invocation of the same. The Three in One, and One in Three, Of Whom all nature hath creation, Eternal Father, Spirit, Word: Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.
5. “Priestly Blessings” Prayer from Scripture:
Numbers 6:22-27 is known as the “Priestly Blessing” or sometimes the “Aaronic Benediction.” There are seven requests made in this prayer.
The LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, 'This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: “’The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”' “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”
1. The Lord bless you…
The word “bless” means to “provide favor or benefit.” Father, we pray that for our children. You are the Eternal God. Please place Your great kindness and advantage on those we love. May they be approved and favored by You.
2. and keep you…
The Hebrew word “keep” means to “watch, guard, defend.” This is a prayer for protection. Father, my children are not perfect. They are going to make mistakes. But please watch over them and guard them again mistakes of youth that are unalterable. Please defend them against temptation. Protect them against Satan who desires to devour them.
3. the LORD make his face shine upon you…
This is a request for God’s presence.Father, as a parent I know that I can’t be with my children all the time, but You can. Just they feel the warmth of the sun shining on them, please allow them to experience Your presence. Thank You for being with them wherever they go.
4. and be gracious to you…
Grace is God’s undeserved favor. He gives us what we don’t deserve. Father, thank You for Your gift of grace. I pray that gift to be poured out on my children. Following that great gift of salvation, please show them your kindness and love in all the endeavors of their lives.
5. the Lord turn his face toward you…
Here is a request for God’s fellowship.Father, thank You, that because of their trust in Jesus, the Holy Spirit lives in my children. Please walk with them in a powerful way. Enable them to submit to the Spirit’s control day by day and moment by moment.
The Hebrew word for peace used here is “shalom.” It means “completeness, wholeness, and contentment.” Lord, please calm my children’s fears; soothe their anxious souls. Keep them complete and whole in their thinking, emotions, desires, and actions.
7. So they will put my name on ___________ (the name of your child/children). This is a request of identification. Lord, please place Your holy mark on my children. Set them apart to be used by You.
I love them but You love them more. You love them with an everlasting love. May they represent You well on their earthly journey. And when their journey is completed, welcome them home to live forever with You.
(notes by Ron Moore, The Journey)
Prayers for Protection and Safety from the Bible
“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:3
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” – Psalm 46:1
“My prayer is not that you take them the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” – John 17:15
'And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” – Matthew 6:13
“Because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” – Psalm 16:10-11
Read more Bible verses about protection.
What are you praying for protection over today? Comment below to join our large praying community.
This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.
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