Text Size: Zoom In

Can We Pray a Hedge?

Can we “pray a hedge of protection” around our home, church, or city? For many of us, it’s an important question. If there’s anything we understand, it is how much a parent, spouse, or pastor would love to use prayer to create a fence of security around those we love.

I often think of the way Jesus told Peter that he had prayed for his protection. It happened on the night of Jesus’ own betrayal and crucifixion. Peter said he was ready to go to prison and even to death to remain true to his Lord. What Peter didn’t know is that, before he heard the rooster crow, he would deny that he even knew the teacher from Nazareth. Yet it was in anticipation of those moments that Jesus gently warns, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren” (Luke 22:31-32). Jesus had asked the Father to put a limit on what the Devil could do to Peter. I think that may parallel what some of us are asking when we talk about “praying a hedge of protection” around those we love.

But, having said that, the only place I can find a mention of both prayer and a “hedge of protection” together is in the first chapter of the book of Job. There we read about a father who loved his children enough to pray regularly for them. In the same chapter we find Satan saying to God, “”Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land” (Job 1:9-10).

What Satan acknowledges here is that, from his point of view, God is the one who draws the boundaries that demons cannot cross. At the same time, though, I don’t find any indication here that Job was the one who actually “prayed the hedge” that Satan sees around Job and his family.

What we find in the rest of Job’s story is that he is not the one who moves the hedge of protection to a different place. God, for his own purposes, does that. The result is that Job’s experience ends up being similar to that of the “tested Peter”– and also the Apostle Paul who also was not able to pray away the “thorn in his flesh”that he says was a “messenger of Satan.” (2Cor 12:7-9).

So now let’s think about this together. Do you agree with me that there is a reason for caution– if instead of asking God to protect those we are praying for– we think we can “pray a hedge or protection” around them? And, although I want to be careful in how I ask this, could “praying a hedge” (as if prayer is itself a power) be more like belief in “magic” that can be manipulated– than reliance upon God who must be trusted?

I’d like to hear your thoughts on this.

Vote on whether you think this post is something you'll be thinking about:
Vote This Post DownVote This Post Up (+39 rating, 39 votes)

21 Responses to “Can We Pray a Hedge?”

  1. Gale L. Jarvis says:

    Good Morning everyone, Mart, i not only agree that it is God that controls when, where, and how much of a hedge is placed around a person, family, organization, or what ever.
    I agree also it can be even dangerous, or going against God’s will to be desiring a hedge around a person, or thing.
    Several reasons for this, the Lord has shown me that i am to consider it a joy when i am being tested, or needing to go through hard times so that God can teach me how to be patient, not only with God, but others, without patience, i cannot serve God as He desires for me to serve others.
    Because i believe God never changes, i believe God still lets satan have a person for a season, in order for that person to know they can and will come through any thing satan can throw at them, just as Job and others have.
    God already knows when a person has been made righteous as Job was, and will come out on top, no matter what satan can come up with, i personnaly do not desire a hedge around me that God does not desire for me to have.

  2. therese roys says:

    a couple of things: What parent does not pray for protection (among other things) for their children? Psalm 139:5 states, “You have hedged me behind and before and laid Your hand upon me.” I believe we can claim this verse for protection. But we always caveat each prayer, no matter what we pray for, as Jesus did, “nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be done.” Luke 22:42

  3. hal.fshr says:

    Certainly, the idea of praying a hedge of protection over people we care about is widespread. I found Mart’s comments insightful but at times little disturbing. The reference to “magic” seemed a little too judgmental.

    Nonetheless, his comments drove me to my Bible encyclopedia. Two Hebrew words are used of “hedge”. A thorn hedge is mentioned in Micah 7:4 and Isaiah 5:5. A stone wall is referenced in 1 Chronicles 4:23 and Psalm 89:40. A Greek word for partition is used in Matthew 21:33 and Ephesians 2:14. The phrase “to put a hedge about” was used figuratively to refer to God’s protective care (Job 1:10) or His constraint (3:23).

    To me the larger issue is the question of whether or not we should ask God for protection. Within this defined area is the mystery of God’s Sovereignty and our freedom to respond to Him. Certainly, we should not use a Bible verse as a “good luck” charm – hence, Mart’s comment on “magic.” But instead, we should recognize God’s power and sovereignty in our lives. Sometimes God allows suffering to enter our lives for our own character development.

    As God’s children, however, we are to take God at His Word to meet our needs. This would include trusting God for protection. Great verses on this subject are: Psalm 91:4, Psalm 34:7 and Isaiah 43:2.

  4. sallyapatterson says:

    I am a very simple person; therefore I use the Scriptures and I let God be God. Every morning I do pray a hedge of thorns around my husband and I. Also I ask God to His protection for our children and grandchildren. We have to travel to L.A. and around our home. Every second in this world needs our protection, and I ask God to do His work of Grace.
    Try it you might like it.

  5. Niivam says:

    “Praying a hedge of protection” is it not just like Paul asking his partners in his letters to pray for him that God may open a door…..etc We all knew Paul was called into the ministry by Jesus himself and he was in control and leading him all the way, so why will Paul ask for prayers from mere common men like you and me? Jesus said in Matthew chapter 6, the Father knows what we need even before we ask him, but he still encourages us in his word to bring our petitions before him. I believe God our Father, love to hear us asked him to protect our loved ones because it shows how we trust him. And does he answer such request, the answer is always yes. The hedge is spiritual so we may not see it but its there because he answers the prayers of his righteous ones.

  6. Hephzibah610 says:

    I’m thinking perhaps it is like praying: “lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil.”


  7. lynntate says:

    First of all I would like to thank you for the courage you have shown in addressing this, and other subjects that are part of our growth as Christians. Concerning the matter of the use of the term magic; I feel as Christians we have to always remind ourselves that the Lord, and only the Lord has paid the price, and earned the position at the right hand of the Father. We are saved by grace, not by our own actions. As we grow in faith, we should learn to turn more to the Lord, and not to ourselves. There are many these days that would have us think that God has given us the “power”. But without supreme knowledge and wisdom, what become of the use of such power. Therefore, let us strive to be developed, not empowered. Like Solomon, let us first seek wisdom. And let us learn to trust in the Lord and not ourselves.

  8. sbrewster says:

    Thank you for a thought provoking post. I, too, admit that I have often struggled with this in my journey. I have and will always pray for God’s protection upon my family and myself…yet the Holy Spirit instantly reminds me that WE few are not the only ones in need of God’s protection and I am always immediately humbled to be faced with how narrow I still am. There are many times when I struggle to understand – when something terrible happens to someone does it mean that God was not providing protection in their life. It seems a bit childish to even question, but after all these years I do still have those moments when I wonder. When my dad died unexpectantly of a heart attack – had God removed his protection or was it at that very moment that he was shrouded in the supernatural protection of God? In the depth of my heart, I believe it was the latter. As Christians, I believe we inherit God’s protection. It is our birthright. Does it mean we won’t or shouldn’t experience struggle and hardship…after all we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I believe God protects our souls, but to me that does not mean our bodies make it through the fire. I’ve seen too many of God’s people suffer horrible injustices – yet I believe that God is with them, protecting them, in ways I cannot understand. When Joseph was sold into slavery, God was protecting him. When his master’s wife lied and said he tried to rape her and he was thrown into prison and left to languish many years, God protected him. Likewise, I don’t think someone who prays sincerely “a hedge of protection” is necessarily out of order…as with all prayer it is the motive of the heart God looks at and I don’t think God is that legalistic…I think He is more than able to discern and judge the intent. Praying for the protection of others or that they be shielded by the hand of God or hidden in the cleft of the rock or even hiding ourselves in God….it puts God in the supreme position – and recognizes that we as mere mortals are unable to assure our own protection or that of anyone else – no matter how much we want to – because there is just too much that we don’t control – but God Almighty sees all, knows all and is in control to his divine purpose.

  9. Paul Lionel says:

    The other day I prayed for God’s protection against injury before a indoor hockey match. During the match I crashed into the walll and damaged my head.

    I don’t know why God let this happen. Perhaps he wants we to learn something. It seems natural to me to pray for protect for myself and my family and I beleive God wants me to do this, (deliever us from evil).

    Sometimes though, He allows things to happen to me but I have to trust His will is being done if I ask His will to be done.

    I will carry on asking for His protection even though He might override it for some reason in His will.

    Why else would Paul command us to put on the Armour of God, Ephesians 6: 10-20.

  10. Mart De Haan says:

    Thanks to all of you who are entering in on this discussion. At this point, I want to clarify that I am not questioning whether it is right to pray for protection for ourselves or others. My issue is with the idea that we can “pray a hedge”– as if “there is power in prayer– apart from God.” I know it could sound like just a matter of semantics (i.e. arguing over words). But my intent is to encourage us to avoid the kind of prayer for protection that is more like an “incantation” than a humble request of God.

  11. yvetterjh says:

    2 Kings6:16-17 is a good example that God protects His own. In the story of Elisha and his servant, Elisha asked God to open his servant’s eyes so that he could see the hedge of protection that was around them. Whenever I read this my heart fills with joy, because God is always there. Even when we don’t see him His protection is always around us. He said “I will never leave you nor forsake you”.

    When it comes to praying for protection of others, I believe that God expects us to ask on behalf of others “love your neighbors as you love yourself”. Just as Jesus prayed for Peter, Paul tells the church of the Thessalonians to pray for him. (3:1-2) Finally brethren pray for us…..(v2)that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men:(protection, hedge)

  12. daisymarygoldr says:

    Christians cannot ‘pray a hedge of protection’ as it is God who protects us as He wills by placing a hedge or even removing the hedge from our lives (Ps 89: 40). It is understandable though, if some do insist to ‘pray a hedge of protection’ or a ‘covering of the blood of Jesus’ (by faith we are already overcomers by His Blood-Revelation 12:11). Prayer is for our own benefit and enables us to trust God rather than ourselves. Moreover, our frail human nature needs to be constantly reassured of God’s protection. A simple illustration to explain this is that of a little girl clinging to her Dad while being safely held within his strong and secure arms. However, the danger to such prayers is when its outcome is not favorable or as expected, causing many to doubt or depart from their faith. Also, there is reason to use caution to avoid falling into a trap of ‘vain repetition’. In all situations (hedge being present or removed) God’s people have the firm assurance of His promises to protect/preserve and should seek to emulate the attitude of Job(Job 1:22)!

  13. Lalycairn says:

    Oh my. I have struggled long and hard over this. I have prayed that God would hedge my children around, that evil would not find them, nor they be able to find it – (Can’t remember exactly, something similar in Hosea, I think) I prayed desperately over all my children daily – I still lost (for now) a son to a car accident, and really struggled after that with why God would allow that when I prayed over that boy daily for protection, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

    I have since come to believe that God DID protect him by taking home, but I still struggle at times in my prayer life – especially in the area of protection.

    And I have often wondered that exact same thing – am I using my prayers as some sort of “incantation” like the prayer itself has some special power, instead of the God it’s prayed too.

  14. Ted M. Gossard says:

    Yes, I’m leary of praying a hedge around others, just as I’m leary of binding the enemy in prayer.

    And your words here, Mart, I find to be helpful and clarifying for me in this. Indeed we have to be careful that our faith is grounded in what Scripture actually says or makes clear.

  15. ohgodis says:

    happy Wednesday…in my life, I want God’s direction, so my prayers are according to the Trinity’s will, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit place a hedge around me, in Jesus name. I don’t want to “direct” God. It’s like maintaining respect for who He is. I have friends who disagree, but I will always acknowledge God and His will for me. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT, RESPECT, AND PRAISE like David had in Psalm 139 to the end of the Book of Psalms…it is my intent to just keep Praising God–in the midst of life situation and circumstances! Thank you!

  16. Chuck Franke says:

    God wants to have a relationship with us that is so real other people can see it. If I am about to be attacked by someone or someones who are about to do me wrong, my trust in God is so strong I believe those wrong doers will see the spiritual protection I have. God may cause them to see my “gaurds” and move on to a different target without me even knowing about it. Is that magic? I don’t think so. Am I manipulating God? No, of course not. I didn’t even know He was at work in my life at that moment. Will I ever know about it? Maybe…when I’m in heaven. The way I can protect my loved ones is to be such a tremendous witness for Christ that they want to build a similar relationship and gain that “hedge of protection” for themselves.

  17. dachshund says:

    I appreciate what you are asking. As followers of our Lord, any of our efforts and claims we have of His power in our lives become “off the mark” if we slip away from ongoing awareness of our need for Him in everything.

    The two times I remember desperately praying for a hedge of protection around individuals, groups and communities, it was to keep evil out and goodness in. It was as if I hit on the “right” prayer under each circumstance. Now that you mention it, both times had to do with protection from evil more than protection from physical harm. In both situations, I realized my helplessness without God’s divine intervention. And His answer to prayer seemed immediate and almost tangible. In the face of evil, realizing I am powerless and urgently turning to Him seems near to His heart. He is all about goodness and is against all evil.

    Does the concept of a “hedge of protection” especially apply to spiritual warfare?

  18. Abigail2 says:

    I have many times prayed this prayer you are talking about.
    But I don’t say’I’ pray a hedge of protection’, I pray and ask that ‘God’ will put a hedge of protection around, home, family.’ Is that the same thing you are talking about? Is that thinking that praying that way is sort of like ‘magic?And I certainly don’t want to be repetitive in prayer which is why I many times pray Gods word for different situations and people.

  19. Mart De Haan says:

    Abigail2, with the right spirit, I think such a prayer can honestly express the desires of our heart. My concern is in regard to an attitude that seems to assume that we can “pray a hedge” around our loved ones. If a hedge is to be built– it will be by God, according to his own will.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.