Wednesday Prayers: Here I Raise My Ebenezer

I was poking through the Old Testament this week when I came upon a verse I hadn't thought of in a while:
"Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanah, and named it Ebenezer; for he said, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’ " - 1 Samuel 7:1

The only reason I'd ever thought about that verse at all is that it's referenced in one of my favorite hymns. In the version I know of "Come, Thou Font of Many Blessings," we sing, "Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by Thy help I've come." I learned in college that an Ebenezer was a monument to God's help, and the definition stuck with me. (Mr. M once told me that a parishioner leaned over to him one Sunday as I was setting the altar for communion and asked if I knew all the hymns by heart. No, not all of them, but definitely that one.)

So, anyway, I stumbled upon my old friend Ebenezer and sat with him a while. Thought about having gotten here by God's help.
Here with vocation.
Here with family.
Here with friendships.
Here with my husband.
Here with God's own self.

Sometimes "here" stinks on ice, and other times "here" looks awfully good, but either way, I've come this far with God's help. And when I'm reminded of that, I can see it. I can't see all of it, I'm sure, but enough to be steeped in gratitude. I have inklings of where I might be without some extraordinary interventions-- friends, mentors and advisors who have cared for and guided me, in particular-- and I'm overwhelmed.

How about you? Any gratitude I can share in with you? Any need I can pray for?


  1. I am continuing to have some anxiety about teaching, and fatigue as the good but intense year draws to its close--esp. as some writing deadlines loom for May as well. I would appreciate prayers for peace and guidance with all of that. Thanks!

  2. Anonymous8:49 PM

    Also one of my favorite hymns. I agree that sometimes here is great and sometimes hard, but either way it was by God's grace that I have come to this place. Thank you for the reminder. Patient hardships have had me in tears quite a lot lately ("here" has been an emotional place), but that is also why I do what I do, to be there in a time of need. Thank you for posting, I am always inspired by your voice and appreciate you sharing.
    -Randi Jo

  3. One of my FAVORITE hymns ever. The joys of being a Baptist! Got me some great, old hymns.

  4. This post really struck a chord with me. Thank you!

    I am currently working on my Ebenezer: discerning a calling to chaplaincy. It's an amazing thing.

    At the same time I am wrapped up in very unsettling anxiety over something that should never have become such a tempest in a teapot: my younger daughter's kindergarten enrollment. It's a crazy story, but I have learned about myself over the years that I don't do well with uncertainty, esp. when it comes to my children. And this situation will stay uncertain for quite some time. I could use some prayers to help deal with the uncertainty. And to help me find peace.

    And at the same time, I need to try to remember all the enormous blessings in my life, and not get carried away on the tide of anxiety.

    Keep up the great work. And sing out loud for us! :)


"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."
-Saint Molly Ivins