The original “hedge of protection” dates back to the book of Job, where Satan complained about the hedge God placed around His faithful servant: “Have You not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has?” (Job 1:10)
Now, the popular prayer for a “hedge of protection” may be getting an upgrade to stronger materials. Many pastors and missionaries, seeing a higher level of danger both physically and spiritually in today’s culture, are praying for a more substantial means of protection than the hedge.
“A row of leafy bushes simply doesn’t cut it anymore in today’s world,” said Dale Hill, a pastor and structural engineer in Bakersfield, CA. “At our church, we’ve started to pray actual fences. Wood or vinyl at least. When we feel really spiritually oppressed, we go for steel-reinforced concrete barriers and the like.”
Julian Deever, who leads worship at Hillside E-Free in Denver, is trying a more transparent approach. “We’re asking for sturdy plexiglass cages, like the one surrounding our drummer, for our entire worship team and pastoral staff. Satan can look, but he won’t be able to touch!”
Denise Stewalski, a prayer warrior who owns ToughTree Landscaping in Chicago, doesn’t think Christians need to abandon the traditional hedge concept just yet. “There are some very sturdy bushes available to pray around your pastors, missionaries, and loved ones. Junipers, for instance, make pretty formidable barriers, and the reasons most homeowners hate them make them a great option. The roots are tough, they’re prickly to the touch, and they’re usually full of spiders and lost baseballs. I’d like to see the Devil try to get through a Juniper hedge.”
“They’re also on sale this weekend,” she added.
What many Christians see as an issue over what a “hedge” is made of, some have a greater faith in the One who plants it, appealing to the encouraging words from Psalm 91, for example: “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ … ‘Because he loves Me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him… He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver Him and honor Him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him My salvation.’”
“If God puts a hedge of protection around you, the kind of shrubbery doesn’t matter. You are safe!” says Ellen Green, head of Horticultural Ministries at Park Forest Chapel in Memphis, TN.
If God’s ideal place for Adam and Eve was a garden, should we worry that His “hedge of protection” won’t protect us? Maybe we’ll be just fine among the hydrangeas.