Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bless This House

Thankfully, our home was not damaged by this year's convergence of the hurricane, Sandy, and the Nor'easter.  However, my heart goes out to those who were not spared.  Recovering from water damage is overwhelming, as we found out last year.

Viewing images of the devastation on the New Jersey shore led me to ponder a prayer I  prayed as a child.  Maybe you said it, too.  "Bless this house, Oh Lord, we pray; make it safe by night and day."

I am sure many of the east coast home owners prayed for protection from the hurricane, but the storm destroyed their homes in spite of their prayers. Why?  In this world, storms are a fact of life. We don't always have an answer as to why some are hit and others spared.

However, truth-be-told, most often our houses are safe, not destroyed. Catastrophes are not the rule, but the exception.
When we are safe and warm, we need to be thankful and not take for granted our protection.

A fellow blogger posted a prayer from the Lutheran prayer book to help us verbalize this thanksgiving:

"Lord God, our home is among the most precious gifts we receive in this life...Make us ever grateful for this shelter from life's storms...According to Your will, protect this home from the spiritual assaults of Satan, but likewise make our home a fortress against the calamities of nature and the wickedness of sinful man...May all who dwell in our home be blessed by Your presence and Your peace, and may all who go forth give thanks for the grace they received from You...We receive Your loving kindness in our home as a reminder of the eternal home we inherit through your Son, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen."

Such modeled prayers are helpful in prompting me to be specifically thankful.  They remind me of what could seem ordinary.  Consequently, I have consciously placed pictures and plaques around our home as prompts to praise God for his love and protection.

In my office hangs a picture of the dove that Noah let out of the ark after the rain stopped.  The caption beneath the print reads:  "And the Lord did not forget."  What a wonderful reminder of God's unfailing faithfulness, even after a deluge!

A plaque on my kitchen counter also makes me aware of the Lord's supremacy over the lives lived in these four walls.  My in-laws purchased the original plaque in Haiti many years ago and graciously had a copy made for us.  Translated from French it reads:  "The Lord is the chief of this house, the unseen host present at every meal, and the silent auditor of every conversation."
Yet another reminder to be aware of and thankful for God's provision is found above my stove.  The words, "Give us this day our daily bread" are cross-stitched cues that every meal is a gift from God, not to be expected, but to be acknowledged with thanksgiving.

Then in one daughter's room is a Pat Buxley Moss picture of a little girl praying.  Hopefully, this reminds whoever is passing by to give thanks in all circumstances.

In the other daughter's suite hangs a print illustrating the tender care of the Good Shepherd.
Finally, there is a cross-stitched Scriptural quotation, "God's love endures forever", to remind us that even when storms hit our homes his love is present and active.

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