This is day 17 in a 31 day series on hospitality.   Start from the beginning here.

When we were rebuilding our house after the fire, we decided to salvage of few bricks from the old house to use around our hearth.

Because suffering remakes us and we didn’t want to forget the winter grace.

We may look finished and even beautiful on the outside but we’re all a mess.  If you look close at the bricks, there are burn marks that time won’t wash away.

But the scars remind us to pray.  They remind us that we are vulnerable and needy and poor and that we must hold tight to the one who burns us with His love but doesn’t consume us.

And they remind us to pray for each other too.   To see beyond the neat exterior to a heart that longs to be known and loved.

I couldn’t have seen it at the time but when He is binding up the brokenhearted, He is teaching the brokenhearted what it means to be loved and how to show that love someone else.

And prayer is the perfect way to love someone in advance:   before they come, while you’re making the food and as you fluff the guest room.

You will learn to love them by praying for them.  You will see them differently.  You will sympathize with their struggle.  You will see clear through and you will tread with reverence on this holy ground.

So, ready the house, yes.

But don’t forget that all the important work happens just beyond our sight.

Prayer for the Home:

Lord God, our home is among the most precious gifts we receive in this life.

We realize this all the more as we remember our Lord Jesus. He set aside home and family. Having no place to lay His head throughout His ministry, he chose to sojourn among those He came to save. We prayerfully invite Him to dwell in our earthly abode even as He continually invites us by Word and Sacrament to dwell forever in our heavenly home, which He prepares for us.

Make us ever grateful for this shelter from life’s storms.

Keep this house always the home of comfort, joy, peace, and forgiveness.

According to Your will, protect this home from the spiritual assaults of Satan, but likewise make our home a fortress against the calamities of nature and the wickedness of sinful man.

Grant us the virtue of hospitality,  the joy of harmonious living, and the blessing of gathering around Your Word and bringing our families’ prayers before You.

May all who dwell in our home be blessed by Your presence and Your peace,
and may all who go forth give thanks for the grace they receive from You, through us, Your dear children

We receive Your loving kindness in our home as a reminder of the eternal home we inherit through Your Son, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray.


from the Lutheran prayer book

“Give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light.”

22 comments on “31 Days to Hospitality::Day 17 Readying the Hearth with prayer”

  1. What a beautiful prayer for the home.

    I love your comments about praying for guests before they come, and how we can see people differently and sympathize with their struggle. That is something to try to remember every day with every one I meet.

  2. Thank you so much for doing this series! You have made me see hospitality in a whole new way. I know you will bless so many lives through this.

  3. Ditto. Yes, we all have our own trash bag. Our own weaknesses and frailties, that we choose to keep tucked away. Most of the time. God still loves us. Pretty amazing!

  4. A few years ago, I spent the weekend at a nearby convent for a silent retreat. Before I left, I was instructed to strip down the bed and remake it with clean linens all the while praying for the next person to sleep in that room. What a blessing that was to me. I felt so honored to do it and wondered what the previous person prayed for me about. It must have been sleep and rest because that is what I did the most of while there!

  5. This prayer is included in the service of Holy Matrimony and is affixed on our hearth:

    O God, our dwelling place in all generations, look with favor upon the homes of our land. Embrace husbands and wives, parents and children, in the arms of Your love, and grant that each, in reverence for Christ, fulfill the duties You have given. Bless our homes that they may ever be a shelter for the defenseless, a fortress for the tempted, a resting place for the weary, and a foretaste of our eternal home with you; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, or Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

    And is a perfect way to “love someone in advance.”
    Thanks again for this series.

    • I don’t know but it better be soon. I’m thinking I may have to drive to Alabama for this grand opening. Can’t wait to see how you work your magic. I’ve LOVED watching all the progress. Mwahhhhhhh! And get better soon.
      Love you,

  6. I love your post! Talking about your house fire reminded me about my great-grandmother who suffered two house fires. After the second fire, my other great-grandmother gave her a set of dishes, since they lost everything. She used them for years. I now have those dishes. They are a stunning depression glass set that I will cherish until the day I die. Each time I use a piece, I’m reminded that they were a gift, from one great-grandmother to another, after a very great tragedy.

  7. I think of this a lot when I yearn hardest for my children to come home. pray for them in advance, give thanks in advance, be in the right spirit early so that when those prayers are answered I am not standing here ungrateful and surprised, just fulfilled and (naturally) elated!
    Ever so slightly off topic, but you did remind me of this by suggesting we pray for our guests.
    And your Mary & Martha remarks earlier this week… Spoke fight to me, We had a house filled with loved ones day after day this week & I tried to keep that in mind.
    Happy weekend Edie!

  8. Wonderfully said. I teach public high school and often try to pray for my students as I look at the empty tables before the students enter the room.

  9. Love this. After we built our house, we invited family & friends over, and our priest. We all walked through the house together, and as the priest blessed each room, we took turns reading from the Book of Household Blessings & Prayers. It was our wish that our home would be a shelter & a blessing for all who enter it.

  10. …so beautifully worded! Thanks for the reminder of the importance of prayer in our homes! You were truly an encouragement to my soul today!

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