Praying to the God who helps

by Emily Vanden Heuvel

Throughout our house, my husband and I have framed photographs from various places we have visited. All of these photos have something in common: each features a column of rocks. While stacking rocks makes for a pretty picture, the deeper meaning behind these rocks is that they are Ebenezers.

What is an Ebenezer? Ebenezer is a Hebrew word that literally means “stone of help” (1 Samuel 7:12). The Israelites erected stones in specific locations after God provided a miraculous victory over their enemies or cared for them in a spectacular way. The stone pile was a reminder of their total dependence on God and how he graciously provided for them.

Dependance on God

The Ebenezer pictures in our home not only remind us of the beautiful places we have visited but also of God’s care for us. On our hikes, we look for small rocks, stones, and shells; as we put them into our pockets, we remember a specific way we have seen God’s love and faithfulness. When our pockets are full, we start stacking our collection. Our family members take turns adding to our Ebenezer, and we share how we’ve seen God’s grace:

  • Beauty in creation

  • Safe travels

  • Physical health as we enjoy a hike

  • Tasty food to eat

  • Forgiveness through Jesus Christ

  • The gift of good relationships

Creating these “stones of help” has helped us remember our total dependence on God and his goodness to us even in seasons of heartbreaking loss and defeat.

What is in your Ebenezer?

The photos of the Ebenezers have helped me often in my daily prayer time. When I look at the photos, I consider all the many ways God has helped me, forgiven my sins, and shown his love to me. Then I pray. I share with God my gratitude for his help and ask him to give me the strength to trust him when I feel defeated. I pray for him to show me the areas in my heart that I have not fully surrendered and to forgive me when I think I can do it without him.

What would be featured in your Ebenezer? How would you retell the stories of God’s grace? When have you seen his goodness in victory? How has God been faithful even in loss and defeat?