Hineni – means “Here am I”.
It was the prophet Isaiah’s response to The LORD’s call on his life.
In the presence of the LORD, Isaiah recognized and
confessed his sinfulness and surrendered his heart to serving GOD.
Established June 2019 ~ Funds contributed in remembrance of those who have gone before us as they “walked with God”. May all who use this garden continue or begin, their fully present walk with God and go where He sends them.
The following is what I recently submitted to Oakwood Church regarding the prayer Garden that many of you contributed to last year at Laina's memorial. Recently I've heard of several people using the prayer garden and giving me some good feedback. Also, after summer camp crowds of children run on the paths, laughing and playing tag. Laina would be so thrilled to see her daughters enjoying this space; As well as others who use the prayer garden for prayerful reflection. In the coming weeks I'll be posting some personal stories on how God had used these types of paths in our walk with Christ throughout our marriage. If you have never used a prayer path or (labyrinth), this is an introduction to how you may chose to try it out. Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions. May you slow down and enjoy the Presence of the Lord. Hineni!
Life is fast paced and packed with activities. How do we slow down and find time to rest and listen to God? Surely there are many ways to do this, but a Prayer Walk is one way that this can be accomplished. You are invited to walk and talk with God in this beautiful prayer garden at Oakwood Church. Bring your burdens, bring your cares and come and praise our Creator! Our Lord and Savior created the earth and planted a garden. He placed the first man and woman in that garden. He walked with them in the garden, in the cool of the day.
Jesus often prayed in gardens or remote places when making decisions or during times of lament. There is something special about praying in gardens. Whatever your interest or need, know that God see’s you, He hears you, and He desires to have a relationship with you. You are invited to come to the garden and be present with the one who is always present with you.
How to use the Hineni Prayer Garden:
There are as many ways that this prayer garden may be used as there are people that God created. This prayer garden in a tool. It has no mystical power. And is not sacred in or of itself. It is a place where we may seek God, just as any other place on earth. It is a tool for intentionally slowing down and listening to and speaking with God as you walk.
It is helpful to have a Bible and journal with you during the prayer walk to capture what the Lord has spoken to you during this time of seeking Him in prayer. You also may choose to walk with nothing in hand and journal after you complete the walk. The choice is yours as to what benefits you most in listening and remembering your conversation with God.
Begin by standing at the point of entry to the path. Take a moment to just relax and breath.
Say an opening prayer: You may use scripture (Psalm 23), a liturgy or share from your own heart as you pray. Liturgies help when you are not certain what to say. Many other believers have walked a similar path as us. We can learn from their prayers.
Example: Heavenly Father, come and meet with me in these few moments as I walk and pray. I give to you my full attention. I give to you my burdens and concerns. I ask that you speak to me as I seek you about _______________. I also give you praise for Your many blessings.
Hineni – “Here I am Lord!” In Jesus’ name. Amen.
As you take your first step offer to God a question, a burden or a praise that is at the forefront of your mind. Verbally share it. Breath and pause for a few moments.
When you are ready take another step. Be aware of God’s Presence with you. Also be aware of your thoughts and how your other senses (sight, smell, touch, hearing, taste) are responding to your surroundings.
Continue to take steps and move at your own pace. You may take long pauses. You may sit, stand, crawl or dance. Whatever you do, may it be in conversation with the Lord! You may want to read and meditate on sections of scripture as you walk too. The Psalms and Gospel’s are a good place to start.
Listen and be aware of your thoughts. Write down or remember what seems important to the question or concern that you asked God at the beginning.
Talk to God quietly or verbally. If you have a question – ask Him. If you have a thought – tell Him. Prayer is a two-way conversation.
Move at a pace that is comfortable. Sometimes people may walk very slowly, and other times move very quickly through the prayer walk. The whole idea is that you are intentionally seeking God through prayer.
If it happens that more than one person is on the prayer walk. Don’t view them as a distraction. But instead let God speak to you through your encounter with them on the path. God also speaks through the body of Christ.
At the end of your prayer walk – thank God for the conversation. Then perhaps journal or debrief with a friend. Consider the question or concern that you brought to God.
How has God met you in response to your concern?
After walking a prayer walk such as this, you may find that it helps you as you “walk” in daily life. You may intentionally slow down. You may consider that interruption as a divine appointment instead of a distraction. A prayer walk is a tool (spiritual discipline) that can be used when we feel we need to slow down or make a big decision.
We pray that the Hineni Prayer Garden will be a blessing to you.
Hineni “Here I am Lord! Send me!” – As we seek to be fully present to the Lord, know that He is always fully present with us – and wherever He sends us!
PS - Thanks for all who contributed to this beautiful garden! A special thanks to Don Douglas and Josh Larson for construction drawings and labor, and others who volunteered their time as well.
I do believe God will use this garden to call people to Himself and to send people into the harvest fields. If you use the garden message me a note of how God used it.
How do you feel about weeds in your garden?
I'm not too fond of it either, especially the pokey ones. For a couple years we were not able to tend our garden due to my wife's illness and death. Now that life is settling into a new routine I have been taking time this spring and summer to tend my garden. When you don't care for your garden for several years, a lot of weeds accumulate. The roots get stronger and it takes several hours and much effort to reclaim what had once been a viable garden. Weeding my garden reminded me of the curse that came upon Adam due to the fall.
"Cursed is the ground because of you;
In toil you will eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
And you will eat the plants of the field;
19 By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.”
The curse is not that enjoyable. And it seems weeds spread so easily. At first I was leaving a pile of weeds at the corner of the garden. But within days those darn weeds sprung right back to life. Just a little soil, just a little hold upon the earth and bam they are back to causing trouble and chocking out anything worth saving. God gave us dominion over the earth; To subdue it and bring it into order and to care for it. He planted the first garden Himself and placed Adam there. (Genesis 2:8-9). But after the fall, Adam and Eve had to pull their own weeds and find seeds and create their own garden. Imagine all that Adam and Eve had to learn when starting their own gardens. What soil works best? Where do I find seeds? What plants can I eat? What plants or "trees" should I stay away from? Oops too late - "the fall".
There is a lot of learning in gardening. And one thing I learned about weeds is that you need to burn them. Otherwise they will come back with a vengeance and contaminate the entire garden again. Unfortunately weeding is not a one and done activity. I have to continually weed my garden. It looks great after weeding, but wait a couple days and there they are, weeds. Weeds care only about themselves. They soak up water, block the sun and choke out the good plants that are full of promise for a fruitful harvest. We need to actively watch for and eliminate weeds on an ongoing basis.
As you can probably already understand, there are a lot of spiritual parallels to gardening. One of our pastors just preached about this on Sunday. Had I not been distracted by YouTube and Facebook, I would have had this done by then. Live and learn. It's important to do what God leads you to at the moment God gives the call.
With a lot of hard work my garden is looking pretty good.
I'll try to post some more recent pics soon.
What have you learned about gardening or even yourself as you garden?
Here you will find updates, thoughts, discussion and prayers for my life and ministry...