A Prayer to Stack Stones
By Jessica Van Roekel
“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.” – Psalm 77:11, ESV
“Bring a rock the size of your fist,” the voice on the phone instructed. In an instant, I was eight again, walking ankle-deep in the lake, searching for another rock to add to my collection. The lake represented my happy place where smiles graced faces, imaginations took flight, and time together translated into love. I collected pink-speckled rocks, semi-opaque white ones, and smooth skipping stones. They were more than pebbles to walk on. They were the foundation of memories that carried me through an unsettled childhood. And then they were gone.
Even as a middle-aged woman, I still think about my rock collection and wonder during which of the many moves in my childhood it was lost. Losing the collection hasn’t deterred me though. I still collect rocks. Only now they are small enough to fit in my pocket, and half fill a clear glass on my desk. I’m still on the hunt for more rock memories, but I didn’t have the requested fist-sized rock. The voice went on to ask me to bring it to Sunday morning service with what God means to me written on it.
There’s a song I play on repeat because it reminds me of my rock collection and the value of remembering. If I don’t remember I can lose sight of God’s faithfulness when I’m in the middle of deep trouble. If I don’t recall good past events, hard current events overwhelm me and rob my hope. The storms of life can cause us to doubt if God is even there at all, but there are some steps we can take to reset our focus.
Psalm 77 is a psalm we can turn to when we desperately wonder if God hears our cries for help. The psalmist expresses his heart with vulnerability and helps us give words to our emotions too. There are times when we have no words except groans because of our breaking heart. We can follow the psalmist’s example. He led himself to search his memory for God’s favor and delight in his life. And in the remembering he found hope and peace. We can do the same.
It’s important to stack stones of remembrance of what God has done in our lives. It’s amazing how we can forget how God answered a desperate prayer for help or gave us supernatural strength to face a health risk. Sometimes though, our minds get so muddled with the daily struggles and anxieties that we can’t see God’s hand in our lives. That’s when we turn to the Bible and search out evidence of his faithfulness.
Abraham’s life demonstrates God’s faithfulness. He was faithful in Abraham’s life to lead him, to be his God, to fulfill the promise of a son in his old age, and then to provide a ram in place of his son on the stone altar on Mt. Moriah. Peter’s life shows the power of God’s faithfulness. Many times, Peter said the wrong thing and led with emotions instead of the truth of Jesus’ words. Much later, Peter preached to a huge crowd on the day of Pentecost and thousands turned their lives over to Jesus’ lordship. God is faithful.
Deuteronomy 6 tells to love the Lord our God with all our hearts and to tell of his words and to write them on the doorposts of our homes. This practice sets us up to remember and to see his unending faithfulness woven like a golden thread through our lives. To remember means we pay attention to when God gave us peace when we didn’t have any. It’s recalling the times when hope flooded our hearts when we felt despair. We can remember how God helped us over the last mountain we faced when we encounter another. These memories can encourage our hearts with evidence of God’s faithfulness.
There are twelve rocks stacked on a table at the front of my church’s sanctuary. Written on the rocks are words like protector, answers prayers, good, and strength. On my rock, I wrote faithfulness. Looking at my life, I can see God’s hand. He’s never left me, never forsaken me, but he’s always been present. He’s the whisper in the storm, the rock of my refuge, and the shadow where I hide.
Collect those rocks of remembrance of God’s faithfulness to you. Write them down so you can call them to mind when you wonder if God hears your cries. Stack stones and remember.
You are faithful and true. Forgive me when I doubt your goodness in my life. Forgive me when all I can see is the hard. Help me see you in the beauty of the sunrise and in the laughter of a child. Help me stack stones of remembrance so I can recall your faithfulness to me.
In Jesus’ name, Amen
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/stereostok
Jessica Van Roekel loves the upside-down life of following Jesus as she journeys to wholeness through brokenness. As an author, speaker, and worship leader, she uses her gifts and experiences to share God’s transformative power to rescue, restore, and renew. She longs for you to know that rejection doesn’t have to define or determine your future when placed in God’s healing hands. Find out more reframingrejectionbook.
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