Praise God for the exceptional atmosphere that millions around the world were blessed by the royal wedding in Windsor last week. It was a delightful redemptive contrast from the Queen’s annus horribliis (horrible year) of 1992, not to mention for Harry himself after all the grief of his his mother’s premature death. And millions upon millions hearing the gospel who would never normally hear it . . . I found myself deep in prayer throughout the day that the Lord would convert the deep feelings and emotions that people would be experiencing on that day into seeds of faith that would outlive the immediate occasion that engendered them, and soften and change heart attitudes to make room for the Lord to come in.
There is nothing so healing as a loving atmosphere. When Ros and I were part of a student-based community in Oxford, the Lord’s presence was layers deep in the substantial flat that four of us shared. Sometimes when we were too tired to minister any more we used to say, “Four walls take over and minister” – and because the Lord was there in such a special way He went on touching people deeply as a result of His presence there.
One of the ‘starter’ words the Lord gave for our ministry at that time was to encourage people to ‘sanctify’ their homes. When we think of the amount of time people spend choosing items for decorating their houses or for television viewing or holidays or other things they enjoy, it is surely honouring to take time to dedicate the place we live in to the Lord. Whether you are a home owner, lodger or tenant you will find a wide raft of starter prayers to strengthen and reinforce you as you do that. Just as many couples rededicate themselves to each other at a certain stage in their life and declare their vows a second time, why shouldn’t we do something along similar lines when it comes to the matter of our homes?
Because this may well involve reclaiming ground, this is something to take seriously!
Jesus thank You for all the ways in which the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. I want to honour what You have given by dedicating them afresh to You. As I spend time now praying through the physical boundaries around me, I ask you to pour out your blessing and protection, in Jesus’ name.(1)
Pay attention to the prayer of Your servant and to his request, Lord my God, and listen to the cry and prayer that Your servant is praying in Your presence. Let Your eyes always look toward this Temple [house] day and night, toward the location where You have said You would place Your name. . . Listen to the requests from Your servant and from Your people Israel as they pray in this direction, and listen from the place where You reside — from Heaven — then hear and forgive. (2 Chron. 6:19-21)
Settle afresh, and still deeper on my home, Lord, by the power of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. You have seen everything that has ever happened here, from first conception to the laying of foundations. You have heard every conversation, and seen every heart intention – words and actions that please You and those that grieve You. We acknowledge before you that these together contribute to the present atmosphere.
Thank You that You not only see but also take great delight in forgiving all that we bring You. Cleanse this place from patterns and pollutants from the past – including the times when we have not lived up to our intentions but have been brittle short and sharp with one another.
In Your name forgive all stains past and present, and grant that from this day onwards new and truer attitudes prevail, and this home bring You glory by being a place of faith-filled rest and love inspired fruitfulness.
Please note that prayers marked with a* are taken from the Dedication Prayer of the Corrymeela Community, published in Worship Resources for an Age of Change compiled by Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild, London: Mowbray, 1995. You might like to pray the passages in bold with others if circumstances permit.
** Traditional Celtic Blessing.
Dedicating our homes and families afresh to the Lord
It is by wisdom that a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches (Prov. 24:1-4) – so let’s bless and pray our way around our home.
Is there any man who has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him go back to his house [and do so].’ (Deut. 20:5)
Now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant . . . For you, O Lord God, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.” (2 Sam. 7:29)
Just as many couples rededicate themselves to each other at a certain stage in their life and declare their vows a second time, we can usefully do something along similar lines when it comes to the matter of our homes.
We are providing here some starter prayers for praying around whatever property you own or are living in, and for whatever roof you find yourself sleeping under. (You may like to extend these prayers to your places of work too).
AT THE ENTRANCE
You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out. (Deut. 28:6 NIV)
Lord, thresholds are such important places . . . You are so welcome here.
By the overseeing power of your Holy Spirit, cleanse and purge this entrance, and make it the gateway for many encounters with You.
God bless this house from roof to floor, from wall to wall,
from end to end, from its foundation and in its covering.
May the wild beauty of God,
May the indwelling peace of God
May the surprising mystery of God
inhabit this home.
We call upon the Sacred Three to save, shield and surround this house, this home, this day, this night and every night.***
Bring to this door both friend and stranger –
and guard it from any who come in hostility.
May friends come often through the door,
but yet the need for privacy be respected here.*
May every grudge or malice be left at the door,
and may those who brought them
be so touched by grace here,
that they forget to collect them when they leave!*
In the living room
How pleasant it is when God’s people live together in harmony.
Lord, kindle in my heart a flame of love to my neighbour,
to my enemies, my friends, my kindred all,
from the lowliest thing that liveth to the name that is highest of all.***
Fix these words of Mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates. (Deut. 11:18-20)
May all who gather here be knit together in fellowship on earth, and find here a first taste of the communion of Your saints in Heaven.*
In the kitchen
May God, our Companion,
fill this home [and this room] with laughter
And weave a satisfying peace
in times of solitude.
May the cupboards be forever full,
And the table spread with welcome cheer.*
Seeing a stranger approach I would put food in the eating place, drink in the drinking place, music in the listening place, and look with joy for the blessing of God, who often comes to my home in the blessing of a stranger.***
In the eating place
Taste and see that the Lord is good. Psalm 34:8
They broke bread together and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. (Acts 2:46)
Hear the Word of God: “You will have plenty to eat, and be satisfied. You will praise the LORD your God who has done wonderful things for you.” (Joel 2:26)
Blessed are you, Inviting God,
for You welcome us at Your table
and call us to share in the banquet of life,
giving us food and drink to sustain our lives and make our hearts glad.
Fill us with gratitude for all You give us.
In the study / office / laptop place
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as if working for the Lord, not for human masters. (Col. 3:23)
For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. (1 Cor. 3:9)
Blessed are you, Creator God,
for your Son Jesus sanctified our labour
as He crafted wood with his hands.
Be present, we pray,
with those who work in this place,
that, labouring as workers together with You,
they may share the joy of Your creation*
Peace between person and person.
Peace between colleagues and teams.
The peace of Christ above all peace.
Peace between friends in the love and service of the King of life.
I pray for all who work here:
May the joy and peace of Heaven be with you.***
May God supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
In each bedroom
Peace be here in the Name of the King of life, the peace of Christ above all peace, the Lord’s blessing over you.
Peace between person and person,
Peace between husband and wife.
The peace of Christ above all peace,
Peace between lovers in love of the King of life.***
Father, as Your chosen people, holy and dearly loved, may we clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience . . . Above all may we put on love, which ties all things together in perfect unity. (Col. 3:12,14)
My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places. (Is. 32:18)
Love is patient. Love is kind. (1 Cor. 13)
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Eph.4:2-3)
I am my beloved’s and he is mine. (Song of Songs 6:3)
I have found the one whom my soul loves. (Song of Songs 3:4)
“You will lie down and go to sleep in peace;
for the LORD keeps you perfectly safe.”
Let each bedroom be filled with Your comforting presence that turns it into a place of encounter with You and that inspires us to live and move in the power of the Spirit.
Grant sleep to Your beloved, “that sleeping they might rest in peace,
and waking they may rise to serve you all the days of their life.”*
In a child’s bedroom
Blessed are you, Tender God,
for Your Son took young children into His arms and blessed them.
Embrace the child/children whose room this is with Your unfailing love,
protect her/him/them from all danger,
and bring her/him/them in safety to each new day,
until she/he/they greets with joy
the great day of Your kingdom.*
For the bedroom of an older child, present or absent
Peace be here in the Name of the King of life, the peace of Christ above all peace, the Lord’s blessing over you.
Son of my breast . . . or Daughter of my heart . . .
The joy of God be in thy face, joy to all who see thee.
The circle of God around thee, angels of God shielding thee, angels of God shielding thee
Joy of night and day be thine; joy of sun and moon be thine; joy of men and women be thine.
Each land and sea thou goest, each land and sea thou goest.
Be every season happy for thee; be every season bright for thee; be every season glad for thee.
Be thine the compassing of the God of life; be thine the compassing of the Christ of love;
be thine the compassing of the Spirit of Grace: to befriend thee and to aid thee,
(Name), thou beloved son of my breast. or (Name), thou beloved daughter of my heart.***
For a Guest Room
Hear the Word of God: Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. (Heb. 13:2)
“You will lie down and go to sleep in peace;
for the LORD keeps you perfectly safe.”
Bless those who share the hospitality of this home, that this may be a place of shelter, healing, peace, and love.*
In the bath shower or utility room
Cleanse me, and I will be clean. Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. (Ps.51:7)
Thank You for Your cleansing love. Give us a proper respect and love for our bodies, keeping them clean and healthy, so that we may glorify You in them, as we confidently wait for You to clothe us in robes of righteousness.
When we encounter something that jars the Spirit ….
May we not allow our hearts to envy what other people have! After all, Paul declared that this was the commandment that found him out: “You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.” (Exodus 20:17, cf Rom. 7:7-8) Whereas other commandments deal with outward actions, coveting exercises a deadly power in stirring our hearts to try to take what God is not giving. Having stirred up these wrong heart desires, coveting then moves out into the open, prompting people to move from secret thoughts to overt actions.(2)
May we say rather with King David, ‘The boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places for me; truly, I have a beautiful heritage’. (Ps. 16:6 ISV)
Are we reading or watching things that stir up dissatisfaction with what we have, and which allow a foothold to active coveting envy?
May we be swift to recognise when we stray onto the wrong side in our attitudes, and swift to seek the Lord’s cleansing and forgiveness. No discipline is pleasant at the time but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. (Job 5:17, Heb. 12:11).
I like the way Eugene Peterson paraphrases that verse: ‘My choice is you, God, first and only. And now I find I’m your choice! You set me up with a house and yard. And then you made me your heir!’ (The Message)
We have all known times when we come across something in the atmosphere of a house or specific location which jars us, or when we sense the lingering presence of some unhelpful influence. If we do not attend to these, it is quite possible to yield ground that demonic forces can exploit. Satan is ever a legalist who seizes hold of ambivalences and chinks in our armour, and covens are diligent about directing curses against Christian homes and families – and against leaders in particular.
Where it lies within our gift to take action – such as throwing an offending object out, as opposed to containing the power of an object we cannot do anything about in prayer, let’s be prompt to do so.
One warning in this respect though: whenever we are dealing with issues that involve occult or demonic forces there is always a risk of allowing our outlook – and hence our very prayers – to become enemy focused rather than Christ-centred.
It is perilously easy at such times to stray into a type of ‘warfare’ that we were never meant to operate in, and that the Lord Himself is best equipped to deal with. As a result, (despite our best intentions) we risk incurring entirely unnecessary levels of spiritual kick back.
We are prayer warriors who are called to exercise spiritual authority, but the best prayers in the Bible manage to remain God-centred, even in the most critical of dilemmas when we are wrestling profoundly for His cause to triumph. God, grant us grace to wield this great authority You give us appropriately as we seek Your face. and wait on you to do the real work.
In the strong name of the Triune God,
Let all evil be banished, all disturbance cease,
and God’s Spirit alone dwell within these walls.
We call upon the Sacred Three to save, shield and surround this house, this home, this day, this night and every night. ***
Bless all who dwell herein – as well as other homes that You bring now to mind.
Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place — the Most High, who is my refuge — no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. For He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. (Ps. 91:9-11)
Final Prayers and Blessing
By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. (Prov. 24:1-4)
So all of you should live together in peace. Try to understand each other. Love each other like brothers and sisters. Be kind (tender-hearted), and completely humble. (1 Pet. 3:8)
May this home be a place where people awake with eagerness to meet with You – and ‘a haven from stress, when the work of the day is done.
Fire the minds of those who dwell here with hopeful dreams – and give them the strength to make those dreams come true’.*
May the eye of God be dwelling with you;
The foot of Christ in guidance with you;
The shower of the Spirit pouring on you;
And may the Sacred Three
Save, shield and surround
The hearth, the house, the household,
This day, this night
and every day and night.
The Lord protect your comings and goings from this time forth and for evermore. (Ps. 121:8)
This most emphatically includes our animals and vehicles!
May God the Father be the guardian of this place and bring His peace, that fear may find no entry here. May Christ be a chosen companion and friend.
May loneliness be banished. May the Spirit bring lightness and laughter, and be the comforter of tears.
Courage be at each going out; rest be present at each return, each day, each night, each going out and each returning.***
From day to day in all our ways may we acknowledge You, and give You every opportunity to direct our path. (Prov.3:6)
Expand our hearts to look beyond our immediate ways of seeing things, so that we can discern Your ways and specific leadings and live each day wholeheartedly for Jesus.
For You know the plans You have for us – plans of peace and not of evil, to give us a future and a hope. (Jer. 29:11)
Christ in our coming, and in our leaving, be the Door and the Keeper for us, for all who work within this place, this day and every day, blessing for always.
And then, as we have been praying for our own homes, many of us will find ourselves either being invited by others to pray in their homes and places of work or regions – or we sense the Lord’s call to go and do so.
May the Lord draw on all we know of His ways of working, and of human and spiritual dynamics to pinpoint the things He is doing. Always be careful not to transfer your own hopes, fears and expectations carte blanche onto other projects – but be aware that the things we are feeling and the ideas that are passing through our minds at that time may reflect what is, or has been going on in that place.
Father, sharpen and filter our spirits so that we can pray effectively and with insight for many people, places and situations.
(1) Atmospheres are important, but so too are boundaries. These exist in the spiritual and psychological realm just as they do in the physical – and we are wise if we take time to explore them, and to pray into them. We would recommend getting hold of Boundaries – or working through the copy you already have sitting on your shelf! This million selling book by Henry Cloud and John Townsend repays the effort!
(2) Likewise, as we place our emphasis here on homes . . . let’s take this reminder from the prophet Haggai to heart to avoid placing all our energies into our worldly homes thereby accidentally turning them into an idol!
“Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your panelled houses, while this house remains a ruin? . . . You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house.” (Hag. 1:4-9)
We can link this warning against idolatry to the challenge the apostles in Jerusalem passed on to the church in Galatia: ‘Continue to remember the poor’ (Gal. 2:10) – a call that itself takes up an oft repeated theme in Scripture. Let’s by no means forget the homeless – and also those who are afraid that they may lose their homes.
And then as strangers and pilgrims here on Earth, let’s let the thought of our eternal home occupy centre-stage. “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” . . . For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. ((John 14:2; 2 Cor. 5:1)