Praying with Mechthild of Hackeborn: Let Christ be everywhere


By Hal Green
Pondering Prayer

Hal Green

One of the extraordinary mystics and lovers of Christ was Mechthild of Hackeborn (1241-1298). She reported amazing dialogues with Christ, as recorded in her book, “The Book of Special Grace.” St. Mechthild herself did not write the work; rather two other mystic nuns wrote down her experiences, as Christ commanded them to do. Once, after Mechthild expressed her fervent desire to be in perpetual union with Christ, the Lord said to her:

“Above you I will be hope and joy to uplift you. Within you I will be life-giving life and gladdening food, richly feasting your soul. Behind you I will be desire propelling you forward; before you I will be love, alluring and caressing your soul. At your right hand I will be praise, perfecting all your works; at your left hand, a golden couch supporting you in trials; beneath you a firmament sustaining your soul.”

These words are reminiscent of the prayer of St. Patrick, found in his Breastplate. He reportedly wrote it for divine protection in 433 CE, as he sought to convert Ireland to Christ. It expressed how he hoped Christ would be everywhere with him (e.g., Christ above me, below me, within me, behind me, before me). It turned out that both Patrick and Mechthild were quite successful in their endeavors for Christ.


The major difference between the two statements about Christ being present everywhere is that Patrick wrote his prayer, whereas Mechthild heard Christ say this to her, as a vow of protective presence throughout her life. What Christ said to her should be taken into the hearts and hopes of all Christians, for all time.

Christ said, in effect, “Do not fear for your life in any way, anywhere, during any day, for I will ever be with you: above, within, behind, before, at your right and left and beneath you, as your rock upon which to build your home in this world.”

What would your daily life be like if Christ said these things to you? Once in a dream, God said to me, “Do not fear another day in your life!” Henceforth, should I fear (though I have), that would constitute a failure to thrive in spite of God’s gracious presence with me.

Seek to live out of these words: The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Ps 27:1).

(Hal Green, Ph.D., is author of Pray This Way to Connect with God. You can contact him at

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