Do you know the Real History of St. Patrick? St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays, and no, I’m not Irish. (Well, maybe just a wee little bit.) I’m also not hoping for a bit of luck or to find a leprechaun or a pot of gold. Instead, my love for this holiday comes from the true history behind it. That’s what I’m sharing today.
The Real History of St. Patrick
St. Patrick was an amazing missionary for God, but his life didn’t start off easy. Kidnapped at 15-years-old, around 400 A.D., Patrick was taken to Ireland as a slave. Even though his family loved God and served him, Patrick had hardened his heart against God. During his slavery, Patrick started to think about all he’d been taught as a child. In Ireland, Patrick witnessed a country ruled by warlords and druids. Seeing the darkness reminded him of the light of God’s truth he had known. While in Ireland, Patrick turned to God. And, years later, a dream—given by God—guided him to escape.
Yet when Patrick was back home he could not get the Irish people, and their need for God, off his mind. The warlords and druids followed many evil practices, and they needed faith in Christ. Then one night Patrick had a dream. There was a man who’d come from Ireland with a whole bunch of letters. Patrick opened up one of the letters and it said ‘The Voice of the Irish.’ And then he heard a voice coming out of this letter that said, ‘Holy boy, please return to us. We need you.’” Was this God’s way of speaking, asking him to return to a place of slavery? Patrick believed so.
From Harper’s magazine – 1872
The Real History of St. Patrick
Patrick returned to Ireland and shared a message of freedom through Christ Jesus.
Many people believed and turned from their wicked ways! Patrick’s ministry lasted 29 years. He baptized over 120,000 Irishmen and planted 300 churches. Later he wrote this poem: The Breastplate
“Christ be 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 inquired, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.”
With all he’d experience Patrick truly understood that all he’d accomplished was only possible with Christ alone.
So remember, the real history of St. Patrick is not about wearing green, going to parades or eating green food. Instead, it’s a reminder that each of us needs to be willing to go into hard places to share Jesus with those who need hope, truth, and eternal salvation! The best part is we don’t go alone. Christ is within, behind, and before us wherever we go!
This year, take some time to celebrate the legacy of a man God is still using to draw others to Himself and His Son.
For more information on St. Patrick and other important historical figures, check out Prayers that Changed History!
We read their stories, and of other people like them, in history books and hear about the amazing things they did to change the world. But one part of the story is often left out: Each one of them wouldn’t have accomplished what they did without prayer.
In Prayers That Changed History, the stories of twenty-five notable people are presented along with how prayer changed their lives and changed history. Following each historical example is a biblical story that ties to that person’s life and actions, as well as ways you can use the power of prayer in your life as well. Because God isn’t done changing the world yet, and he would love to use you to make history.
This is a great book to go through during devotional time, with a Sunday School, or with your homeschool co-op!