The sun’s ubiquitous light greets the wooden floor planks of the antebellum house like a warm handshake from an old friend. Morning motorists scurry by on 37th street— their whirring brushes the sides of the comfortable yellow house. We gather in. With similar hearts— the knowledge that prayer works— we start the morning call for our school. Little do we expect the individual nourishment each of our souls is to receive during our prayerful session.
Scripture readings from Genesis retell stories of God’s provision and prevenient grace toward his people. The story of Abraham’s tamarisk tree is the focus:
So that place was called Beersheba, because the two men swore an oath there. After the treaty had been made at Beersheba, Abimelek and Phicol the commander of his forces returned to the land of the Philistines. Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Eternal God. And Abraham stayed in the land of the Philistines for a long time. (Genesis 21:31-34)
The task of Abraham planting the tamarisk tree comes chapters before we recall how God later tests Abraham’s faith with the sacrifice of his son, Isaac. Before that difficult challenge, God had Abraham plant a tamarisk tree as a reminder of a covenant between two people. The Omniscient God knew what was to come for Abraham. His prevenient grace laid a path in Abraham’s mind where certain truths would wait for the appropriate time to be established: a time that only God knew for Abraham’s future. The planting of the tamarisk tree foreshadows what Abraham needed to know about God and his covenant toward Abraham as he walked his only son to the side of an altar: Elohim Immanuel—the everlasting God is with us, and His covenantal promise to us outlasts the life of His very formidable creations, even the tamarisk tree.
Quietly, we circle up as we pray, speaking the ageless truth shown to Abraham: We are not alone. God is with us; His presence and healing is here. Without knowing exactly when, the Great Intercessor speaks and we all feel renewed, refreshed and restored. Carried like the soft leaves of autumn winds to still waters, we rest for several moments, together, in community this December morning. The scheduled time of prayer has transformed into hope, strength, love, and peace for our own weary hearts. The Keeper comes with promises:
And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:31
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters. Psalm 23:2
The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. Deuteronomy 33:27
After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Hosea 6:2
Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16
In God’s country— the transformative place of prayer— He rebuilds our minds through everlasting promises of hope, comfort, and truth. Under the roof of a small yellow house on 37th Street, we gather to pray because prayer changes everything. It most certainly changes us.