A Prayer for a New Home

A Prayer for a New Home

A few months ago I received a unique and exciting pastoral request. A young couple, Luis and Marineya of our Downtown Campus, purchased a house, and they wanted a pastor to pray for God’s blessing over their new home. Marineya is from Bolivia and explained it is typical in her culture to invite one’s faith community and spiritual leaders to do this when moving into a new house. She said this can “be a way for us to dedicate our house to God in service in front of our church community since all we have is his and not ours.”


I was intrigued by this idea, having never heard of someone doing something like this. Also, I was deeply honored to be asked. So one Saturday evening, their community group, some other church friends, and I huddled together in their home to pray for God’s blessing over their journey there. We used a prayer liturgy adapted from Every Moment Holy, had a time for people to pray specifically for Marineya and Luis, toasted to their new home, and then continued the celebration with food and drinks. 


Whole Life Discipleship


For me, this experience so beautifully embodied the kind of whole life discipleship we talk about so often. Jesus is Lord over every area of our life and deeply cares for the spaces where we live, work, and play. We should intentionally find ways to remind ourselves of that reality. We spend much of our lives in our homes, and it is important to mark those key transitions with a focus toward God and his vision for them. I am grateful for Marineya and Luis’ initiative to invite their church community and me into this practice. 


Below you will find the adapted liturgy we used that evening. I encourage you to consider using this liturgy or something like it the next time you or a friend move into a new house or apartment! Gather others from your spiritual community and prayerfully and intentionally celebrate God’s blessing in the provision of a new home. Also, take some time to peruse the Every Moment Holy website and consider purchasing one of their prayer books. There are so many moments throughout our daily lives where we can intentionally remind ourselves of God’s presence in them. 


A Liturgy for Moving Into a New Home

– adapted from Every Moment Holy*


Leader: We thank you for _________’s new home, O Lord, for the shelter it will provide, for the moments of life that will be shared within it.

People: We thank you for this new home and we welcome you here.


Dwell with them in this place, O Lord

Dwell among them in these spaces, in these rooms.

Be present at this table as family and friends eat together.

Be present as they rise in the morning and lie down at night.

Be present in the work here. Be present in play.


May your Spirit inhabit this home, making of it a sanctuary where hearts and lives are knit together.

Where bonds of love are strengthened, where mercy is learned and practiced.


May this home be a harbor of anchorage and refuge,

And a haven from which they journey forth to do your work in the world. 

May it be a garden of nourishment in which their roots go deep

That they might bear fruit for the nourishing of others.


May this new home be a place of knowing and of being known.

A place of shared tears and laughter;

A place where forgiveness is easily asked and granted,

And wounds are quickly healed;

A place of meaningful conversation, of words not left unsaid;

A place of joining, of becoming, of creating, and reflecting;

A place where diverse gifts are named and appreciated;

Where they learn to serve one another

And to serve their neighbors as well;

A place where their stories are forever twined by true affections.


Grant also, O Lord, that their days lived gratefully within these temporary walls, enjoying these momentary fellowships, would serve to awaken within them a restless longing for their truer home. Incline all our hearts ever toward the glories

Of that better city, built by you, O God, a city whose blessings are never ending, and whose fellowships are eternally unbroken.




*The original prayer was written for a family to pray together when moving into a new home, so I shifted the language so that it made sense for the broader faith community to pray over a family as they move into a new home.

God’s Home

God’s Home

What does a home say?

Our family moved a few months ago. I have no doubt we were motivated by the COVID-craziness (what were we thinking?!). I also have no doubt it was God’s incredible hand of loving provision that got us there. We love our new home.

If you were to take a quick tour, what would our home say about the Miller family? You’d instantly learn that we love nature more than just about anything. You’d learn that we love family time more than nice things, and that we’re not particularly great decorators. You’d learn that we’re ok with an older, fairly simple house, in need of a few updates with a little farther commute to work and church, in order to have more trees, more quiet, more bugs, ticks, snakes, rodents, cobwebs, yard work and so much dirt. Our home would tell you a great deal about who we are and what we love.

Where does God live?

So where does God live? There are so many potential answers to that terribly cheesy question, and since He’s omnipresent (alway everywhere), you’d be hard pressed to come up with a wrong answer. But where is His home? I typically picture Him in heaven, but even there I get confused. Is it the Far Side version with clouds and harps? Or is it the heaven I grew up imagining with streets of gold, big ol’ pearly gates, and wandering angels?

Either way, I tend to picture His home somewhere up there. Far away, out of touch, and often the stuff of a bad fantasy novel. Is that God’s home?

Yet, there’s this section in the Gospel of John. It’s Jesus talking to His disciples shortly before His execution. In some ways, it’s a major downer of a speech. He tells His disciples everybody hates Him, soon they’re going to kill Him, and then they’re going to start doing the same to us. The world is going to be ugly towards Christians, He says, and you’re probably going to be killed soon. Thanks, Jesus.

But, He says, I’m going to send you a Helper. Other translations have Comforter, Encourager, Counselor, Advocate, Friend. We don’t really know how to translate it, but Jesus is referring to the Holy Spirit. The very presence of God, with us.

Then Jesus says this, recorded in John 14:23: “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”

Let that sink in. For those who follow Me, who love and obey Me, who trust in Me. We (God the Father and God the Son–the dynamic duo) will come to him (through God the Holy Spirit–that makes three–the entire Trinity) and make our home with him.

So where is God’s home? Well, where are you right now? Look around. Where are you reading these words? If you are a Christian, wherever you are right now is the answer to that question. For you are God’s home. YOU. And everywhere you go, He is right at home with you.

What does that tell you about God?

What does that tell you about God? Think about it. God’s home is with His people. Of all the places God could make His home — I mean, He is God after all! Hawaii? Alaska? Colorado? Utah? All these would be high on my list. A palace? A private island? An endless forest? Yes, please! Yet, of all the places God could make His home (look around again), He chooses to live with us.

He chooses to live in the cubicle with you at work, even when you’re overwhelmed or frustrated or demeaned. He chooses to live with you in your classroom or when you can’t find anyone to sit with at the lunch table. He chooses to live in your house, even in the places you feel completely unseen. He chooses to live uniquely in our church, when we gather together to celebrate Him. He chooses to live with you even in those places you wish He wouldn’t (a little privacy, please!), either due to your shame or sin or both.

God makes His home with you. What does that tell us about God? Well, as I think about my own life, it tells me His standards are pretty low. I mean, He will literally live anywhere. He’s not afraid to get His hands dirty. He’s not ashamed of me or my sin. It’s like He’s willing to be roommates with a slob.

Which means His mercy and grace really are that big. God is holy and worthy of my fear. Yet because of Jesus, He has taken my sin and given me His goodness, so that God can make His home with us. Where God chooses to live shows me just how big His forgiveness is.

And how dearly we are loved. It’s not just in the gospels that we see God’s home on display. We see it in Genesis 1-2, the first chapters of the Bible, when we learn that from the very beginning this was God’s heart for us. We were meant to live in the Garden with Him forever, in perfect intimacy and joy. This home was always His plan.

We also see it in Revelation 21-22, the final chapters of the Bible, when at the culmination of all things, creation is restored and God Himself comes to live with us. We get a taste of this now through God’s Spirit, but this is the ultimate reality in store for God’s people. For heaven is a New Creation, where we dwell once more with our Maker.

What does it tell you about us?

We learn a lot about God by the home He chooses. But what does this tell us about us? What do we learn about ourselves from a verse like this? There are two quick observations here that I’ve been chewing on and delighting in recently.

We were never meant to live our lives alone.

First, this reminds us that we were never meant to live our lives alone. You and I were never meant to live without God by our side, or outside of His constant presence with us. If that’s true, I should probably stop trying to live my life as if I can do it without Him. I was never meant to do anything without Him!Where are the spaces you need to invite Him into? Where are the places you need to remind yourself that He is right at home with you? When you feel alone at school or overwhelmed at work. When parenting gets the better of you or you feel stuck knowing how to encourage your friends or share your faith. When you look at our world and wonder how it could ever get better.In those moments, and it feels like there has been a lot lately, I have tried to just pause and briefly pray. God, you are here and I need your help. Please.This is also why the gathering of God’s people is so important. Sometimes I can’t sense God next to me but I can sense Him next to you. Sometimes I don’t feel like looking for Him but I see Him in you. And when we’re all together, singing to Him, hearing from Him, loving one another and celebrating His presence, it reminds us loudly of His home with us. Yes, He’s at home with you, but all the more when we gather together as His people.

We experience this at church, in our community groups or bIble studies, and through the warm smiles or encouraging words of our dear friends. So often the primary place I experience the presence of God is through His people. You and I were never meant to live our lives alone.

There is not a place you can go without Him by your side.

And the good news of the gospel is that we don’t have to; there is not a place you can go without Him by your side. If you are a follower of Jesus, you are never alone.Is there anything we humans fear more than being alone? Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my alone time. I need my alone time. Many of us do. But there’s an ocean of difference between needing a little alone time and feeling utterly alone or abandoned.I know many of us right now feel pretty lonely. Our relationships and social interactions have changed so dramatically over the past 18 months. Some of us have lost loved ones. Others of us, accelerated by the stress of this past year, have experienced deep wounds in your marriage, your family, or your friendships. Maybe you’ve started at a new school or moved to a new town. Or maybe the weight of your job right now feels as if it’s crushing you.And you feel alone.I do, too.Yet, God is at home with you. Right now. And He’s at home with me.

As the psalmist delights:“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” Psalm 139:7-10.

Prayer for God’s Presence

O God, give me today a strong and vivid sense that you are by my side. In a crowd or by myself, in business and leisure, in my sitting down and my rising, may I always be aware of your presence beside me. By your grace, O God, I will go nowhere today where you cannot come, nor seek anyone’s presence that would rob me of yours. By your grace I will let no thought enter my heart that might hinder my closeness with you, nor let any word come from my mouth that is not meant for your ear. So shall my courage be firm and my heart be at peace.

John Baillie, A Diary of Private Prayer, 63

Coming Home

Coming Home

The holidays are a time when we think about home. For some, home is a place of warm memories. For others, home was a place you couldn’t wait to escape. But most of us have some sense that we aren’t quite at home in the world. Why is that?

Christians believe that the reason this feeling is so persistent is because it’s true. We are away from home. We have run away from home. We thought there was something better for us. But we got lost, and we can’t find our way back.

This is one of the many ways the Bible talks about the human experience: the feeling of being away from our true home. The Bible calls this exile. We are all—to use Steinbeck’s turn of phrase—living East of Eden.

There is a pattern in the Bible. It begins all the way back in Genesis 3. Adam and Eve were at home. The garden of Eden was all that home was meant to be. Abundance. Beauty. Pleasure. Relationship. They were fully known by God and one another without shame or fear.

But then it all broke.

Adam and Eve believed the lie that they could make a better home on their own, and they lost the only real home they had ever had. It only took a moment, but the betrayal would last for ages. This is how the pattern begins:

The LORD God said, “Since the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil, he must not reach out, take from the tree of life, eat, and live forever.” So the LORD God sent him away from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove the man out and stationed the cherubim and the flaming, whirling sword east of the garden of Eden to guard the way to the tree of life.”
Genesis 3:22–24, CSB17

Then this pattern gets repeated again and again in the Scriptures. God rescues His people from Egypt and brings them into the Promised Land. But once again they reject Him. Other nations rule over them. God raises up a rescuer. But then, before long, the people reject God again, and once again they find themselves away from home, in exile. This is the story of the Old Testament.

But God promises that one day the pattern will stop. He promises He will make a way for us to come back home. He promises that one day He will give us a new home. He promises that one day we will come home and never run away again.