Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"Hedge of Protection" - Praying for Shrubbery?

I grew up within a Christian/church tradition where I often heard prayers for a "hedge of protection" around children, spouses, etc. when going off to school or to work, or starting off on a long road trip - that the Lord "would place a hedge of protection over us with angels before us and behind us."

Hmmmm. What's the scriptural support for such a prayer? Where do we see evidenced in scripture any model or admonition for Christians to pray in this fashion? I know Satan spoke to God about a hedge around Job - but is that enough scriptural support for Christians to pray this way?

And another thing - Job needed a hedge as the fullness of time had not come - Christ had not yet come and shed His blood for His people. And Christ has done this for His church, and the scripture clearly says that we have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), that we have the full armor of God (Ephesians 6), and we are hid in Christ (Colossians 3:3). So, if all that is true (and it IS!), why do we need a "hedge" to protect us when we are "in Christ?!"

What say you?

21 Comments:

At 2/11/2009 8:55 PM, Blogger the Underdog said...

Is hedge and shield synonymous? I have been working through the Psalms and there are references to God as a shield for the Pslamist. I would rather have a shield than a bushy outcropping if I am going to get attacked....

 
At 2/12/2009 10:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder about this sometimes myself. Yeah, I don't think that term in itself is scriptural. I see your point that we are totally protected. But I think there are times when God gives special annointing for different things.... But I see your point that we're always protected.

lately I am thinking about the topic of boundaries. At first I thought that that wasn't a biblical term... But there is some truth to the whole concept. I think a lot of it is common sense that our culture has totally lost.

So I think both fall into that category of: let's tighten our belts on the biblical implications of what we're saying while at the same time not throwing the baby out with the bathwater, ie it's good to pray for protection and to set boundaries. : )

Thanks for your blog.

 
At 2/12/2009 6:07 PM, Blogger Marliss said...

I would like to see more on this. I routinely pray for a hedge of thorns and a shield of protection around loved ones, and so does my husband. I believe this comes from some old Bill Gothard teaching. I know I remember reading in some of the IBLP marriage materials about praying a hedge of thorns around a former wife whom a man was seeking to reconcile with but she was seeing another man.

I hope you explore this topic further.

 
At 2/12/2009 8:53 PM, Blogger Sandra said...

Are we caught a bit in confusing semantics? Why not simply pray for the Lord's protection around our loved ones and ourselves?

 
At 2/12/2009 10:46 PM, OpenID mattmo865 said...

I remember hearing it taught based on Hosea 2:6 -

"Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths."

The idea being to either protect one from evil without, or to protect them from acting on their own sinful desires.

 
At 2/13/2009 11:30 PM, Blogger Marliss said...

That's it! Thank you. I am embarrassed to say that I read Hosea recently, and did not particularly notice that. So... I suppose the question still remains: is this a prayer specifically for that circumstance or is it an appropriate prayer for protection in many situations?

 
At 3/31/2009 8:21 PM, Blogger Denise said...

I think going boldly before the Throne of Grace (Heb 4:16) and asking our Lord Jesus to protect in His way is sufficient. In Him, we need no worry as to a hedge, fence, shield. In Jesus is our confidence.. not in desiring a hedge. Omnipotent Lord and Savior He is!

 
At 1/23/2010 10:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We use the Hedge of Thorns prayer for those that are NOT IN Christ. If they were IN Christ then they would not need us to pray for them to come to their senses and leave Satan turning their life over to Christ. Is that a problem? God bless you.

 
At 9/16/2010 8:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I often get tired of people prayer this prayer. It is nothing but an overused cliche and no one really knows what it means. The poster is right; Satan used this term when talking about the sort of protection God gave Job. Do we want to use the same terminology as Satan? I think not.
Also, who are we to tell God how to do what is His work? We are we telling God to put up a hedge? Why not a retaining wall of protection? Or a force field of protection?

 
At 11/30/2010 10:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been in Christ for 42 years. I am thoroughly persuaded of and have expereinced divine provision, healing and protection. However, I don't see any biblcal, historical or expereintial evidence that believers have a guarantee from God of a shieled of protection from all evil incidents. I have seen too many saintly people die of wasting diseases, accidents, attacks from the godless and tragic events happen to their spouses, children etc.

 
At 4/19/2011 4:22 PM, Blogger Donald Hart said...

Praying for a "hedge of protection" is less about ascribing to a mode of prayer found in Scripture than it is about identifying the nature of God. (Our Father who art in Heaven.) In Job 1:10 it is not about the hedge but about God. The book of Job identifies the reality that it is God who protects and can draw boundaries which even Satan cannot cross.

In the Old Testament we see the "hedge" or "wall" used in two different way. First it is used to identify boundaries. The boundaries of a city, the walls of a house, and the hedges which defined the boundaries of vineyards. They were ways of defining ownership and order in cultivation. Second, we see this idea of a "hedge" used to identify a border of protection. Hedges were put around vineyards to protect the corps from wind and dust, they placed as a mode of hindrance for those who would wish to walk right through.(Pro. 15:19; Ps. 80:12; Isiah 5:5; Mark 12:1) This is what we see in Job. He is identified by the hedge as belonging to the Lord and the hedge is seen as God's protection which has limited Satan's actions.

Praying for a "hedge of protection" is identifying with who God is and the power He has over the works of Satan. In Ezekiel we see the Lord searching for a man who would "build up the wall and stand in the gap" for the people. (Ezekiel 22:30) In Luke 22 we even see Jesus praying for Simon that his faith would not fail him, that the actions of Satan be limited. In John 17 we see Jesus praying to God that His disciples be kept from the evil one. "I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one." (John 17:15)

So while a prayer for a "hedge of protection" may seem like a over used evangelical mantra, it rest upon firm biblical principle. It identifies who God is and ask for His protection from Satan and the evil of this world. If we discount it because we never see anyone in the Scripture praying for a "hedge of protection" then we must also discount other prayers which our faith is based upon because they are also never seen in scripture yet rest on sound principles. I refer mainly to the "sinner prayer" for salvation. We hold to the power of this prayer yet we never see it set as a mode in Scripture.

 
At 4/20/2011 11:16 AM, Blogger Marliss Bombardier said...

Exactly, Donald. Wise comment.

 
At 5/10/2011 8:38 PM, Blogger goaliebap said...

you should check out Hedge of protection by Tim Hawkins

 
At 10/04/2011 11:43 PM, Blogger Amy said...

I believe FULLY in the power of prayer to my Savior God, and whether someone thinks the phrase "hedge of protection" is overused and/or irrelevant today, I LOVE LOVE LOVE all that Donald Hart (above) said. His and the the prior posts are months ago, BUT I found this blog, today, as a result of search for "hedge of protection" .... just KNOWING I would need to battle back against people who think that phrase is a farce and/or overused and/or irrelevant and/or not Biblical. (How sad is that?) Bottom line for me: I pray for a hedge of protection because I believe and know that the Lord will respond to that prayer, according to His own will/plan for my life. To NOT pray for that hedge of protection is leaving myself and my family open to attack/spiritual warfare. If we are to be obedient to Eph. 6:10-18, then we need to arm ourselves with God's Word and all that is advised to us in those verses. For me, ALL of these Ephesians verses point to praying for a hedge of protection. ESPECIALLY verse 18. We ARE to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Why would a prayer for a hedge of protection NOT be included or important here? If someone wants to "mince" words and claim there's a "better" way of saying it, fine. But really.... I will continue to pray for a hedge of protection around myself and my family/friends because that prayer lines up with my own heart's desire to be obedient to Christ.

And P.S. A Biblical topic such as this CAN be "nitpicked" to the point of absurdity. I think that moment has occurred with this topic. That's just my opinion.

 
At 12/04/2011 4:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen Donald Hart! If we are led by the spirit then we will pray by the spirit. We have relationship, not religion and we are to pray the way the spirit leads us, not according to man.

 
At 1/17/2012 1:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

AMEN TO THAT!!! :)

 
At 2/03/2012 3:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Donald Hart. You explained this clearly and soundly based upon biblical principles. God bless you!

 
At 5/11/2012 1:05 PM, Blogger Tim Stewart said...

The comments on this post are the best part! There's also a helpful (and Biblically based) definition of hedge of protection at the Dictionary of Christianese.

 
At 1/26/2013 6:43 AM, Anonymous Ellen Williams said...

My Biblically raised siblings, ages 85-69 were curious about this. Donald Hart's comments gave me a great understanding. I like the idea of using the prayer for a hedge of protection for those loved ones who are not "in Christ." Don't we all have loved ones who are not yet believers? If we don't, we aren't loving as Christ loved, as He implores us to love.

 
At 6/14/2014 11:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our pastor brought up this point in church and that is why I am looking it up. He was of the mind that it is not big enough and why not pray a wall etc. I have prayed this prayer for some time and was a little confused by his saying that so I thought I would look it up. Thank you all for your comments. I am informed now and I especially liked Donald Hart's message.

 
At 9/21/2014 9:29 PM, Blogger Stephen said...

I don 't get it, why pray for something that is already there? Where is your Trust? Where is your Faith? THis is completely unscriptural in the New Testament once Christ came for "The Lord is my Rock and my Salvation". Does not God ALREADY protect His Children, ? He taught us to pray 'like this"..Our Heavenly Gather, Hallowed is Thy Name..They kingdom Come th will be done on earth as is in Heaven. Give us this Day Your Bread for our daily need, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. You, who leads us not into temptation and delivers us from evil." If we pray we would pray in the affirmative that it is already there, for your heavenly Fatter knows what you need even before you ask him. The prayer for a hedge of protection sounds more like purely emotionalism than The Reality itself.

 

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