The absolute best bit of advice I received last week was to pray over my workspace.
Friday morning, I arrived a little early, and I prayed. In the midst of telling the enemy to stand down in Jesus’ name, I remembered one of my dad’s prayers.
Every Saturday morning, for as long as I can remember, at the end of our family devotions, my dad would pray a wall of protection and a hedge of thorns around each of my siblings and I by name. As our family expanded to include siblings-in-law and nephews and nieces, they were added to that Saturday morning prayer.
The Scriptural concept of a hedge of thorns is found in both Hosea, where it is used as a method to frustrate a wandering heart, and in Job, where Satan says of God’s protection, “Have you not put a hedge of protection around him and everything he has?” I don’t know my dad’s heart, but given the language he used – a wall of protection and a hedge of thorns – I’d venture to guess he was probably praying for both.
Growing up, I didn’t have the understanding of this prayer that I do now. I had a picture of the hedge of thorns that guarded Sleeping Beauty designed to deter her Prince Charming. Wouldn’t a wall of protection and a hedge of thorns only serve to keep people away? Why would my dad want to keep people away from me?
No, I didn’t fully understand my dad’s prayer until last week, as I prayed it for myself over my workspace. My dad didn’t want to keep people away from me, or me away from people. He wanted to keep unworthy away from me, and me away from unworthy. He wanted me away from things that would use and abuse me, from things that would view me as something to be subdued and conquered, from things that couldn’t see beyond the wall and the hedge. And those are exactly the spirits I’ve been up against the past several weeks.
Some people within my circle of acquaintance will say, “That’s what you get for moving away from your parents on your own.” Believe me, I had that thought myself. Then I remembered, it’s not my dad and my mom who protect me. It’s not even me who protects me. God protects me.
Others will say, “Protection is not the point.” I know that. I’ve been through way too much to not know that. And I’m in no way advocating a playing-it-safe kind of life. I don’t roll that way.
However, I’ve been through way too much not to trust my gut, not to know that I’m not obliged to receive everything that comes at me. Sometimes I disregard my gut, and take everything anyway, because I’m determined to believe the very best about people and situations, but I shouldn’t. I shouldn’t. Just because bad things happen to everyone, and have happened to me, and will continue happening to me, doesn’t mean I have to walk around unprotected, either.
So I’m going to keep praying my wall of protection and hedge of thorns.