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  • debhopper

Here I raise my Ebenezer

Many of us remember singing the old hymn “Come Thy Fount of Every Blessing” or maybe some have heard the modern version by Chris Rice. Tucked away in the second stanza are two lines with great significance:

Here I raise my Ebenezer Here by Thy great help I've come

Taken from 1 Samuel 7:12, this was after a battle at Mizpah when the Israelites were sure to be routed by the Philistines until Samuel pleaded with God on their behalf. God heard Samuel and thundered upon the Philistines with a mighty sound, threw them into confusion, and allowed the Israelites to be saved. To acknowledge what God had done, Samuel marked the moment this way: Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the Lord has helped us.” So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. (1 Samuel 7:12–13) Four years ago, we set up an Ebenezer wall in our backyard and marked stones with birthdates, wedding dates, healing dates and markers for each one of our 18 family members. We’ve updated it once since then, but lately I’m sensing another stanza of the hymn poking at me:

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it Prone to leave the God I love

At the start of 2023, I turned the page in my prayer journal to start some new entries, but decided to look back over the past year and count the answered prayers. I was amazed and astounded at how many prayers God had answered! Some were huge prayers of healing, others were smaller, and some were even people I only knew through social media. Without revealing specifics or private prayers, here’s a sample:

  • My 60% hearing loss & tinnitus: HEALED

  • Grandson Elias’ concussion & school replacement: HEALED, ANSWERED

  • 2 friends from my past with cancer: 1 HEALED with treatment, 1 HEALED in heaven

  • Prayers for a publisher: ANSWERED

  • Vision for a single moms ministry: ANSWERED

  • 10 Instagram friends who asked me to pray: ANSWERED

There are still some unanswered prayers I am carrying over to 2023, but just counting the fruit gave me renewed prayer power. Suddenly, I knew why Samuel lifted the stone at Mizpah. He knew that we were certain to be jubilant right after a victory, but our stories are not over and another hardship is certain. Our hearts are ‘prone to wander’ with every battle, but we need to lift up Ebenezers and say: “Til now, the Lord has helped us.”

Your Ebenezers

Maybe you don’t have room for an Ebenezer wall, but you can start or restart a prayer journal. Choose a new journal or notebook, or you might prefer paperless using your laptop or iPad. I set aside one day/week when I update my journal and spend time praying over the unanswered prayers. Keep it simple and use what will work best for you. Most importantly: write it down, look back occasionally and raise an Ebenezer. Then you’ll join me in the last lines of this hymn and we’ll sing together with great joy:

Here's my heart Oh take and seal it Seal it for Thy courts above

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