“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (NIV) Lamentations 3:21-23
Throughout our house, my husband and I have framed family photographs from some of our favorite places. Each photo features a column of rocks, called an Ebenezer, our family’s way of remembering all the great things the Lord has done for us.
Ebenezer is a Hebrew word that means “stone of help” (1 Samuel 7:12). In 1 Samuel 7, God raised up the prophet Samuel to lead the people back to God. Through a great act of faith, Samuel obeyed God and led the people to victory. Then the Israelites erected stones in the specific location where God had provided a miraculous victory over their enemies. The stone pile was a reminder for the Israelites of their total dependence on God.
You can build your own family Ebenezer: on a trip or hike, look for small rocks, flat stones, bark, or shells. As you collect them, think of a specific way you have seen God’s love and faithfulness. When you’ve found a good spot, start stacking your collection. Have each family member take turns adding to the Ebenezer. Get creative as you make the tower tall and sturdy even if it takes a few tries!
Then together share how you’ve seen God’s grace and provision for your family.
To start, share a favorite Bible verse. Then take turns reflecting on where God has been present in your life, maybe even that day! Ask guiding questions like, “When have you seen God at work in good times?” or “How has God been faithful even when things have been tough?” It’s tempting to only talk about happy memories, but don’t shy away from talking about difficult times as well (the pandemic, hospital stays, the death of a loved one, etc). God is with us in both good and bad times; it’s valuable to remember his faithfulness in our sad times.
Other discussion starters can be
Who has encouraged your faith?
When have you felt God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ?
How did you know God was close when you were frightened?
Themes of the beauty of creation, safe travels, best friends, physical health on the hike, or tasty food to eat are all great things to talk about.
Conclude by holding hands and saying a prayer like, “Thank you, God, for the many ways you have been with us, in good times and bad. We are thankful for your many blessings and for your faithfulness. Amen.”
Before you go, snap a photo of you and your Ebenezer. Later, place the photo in a prominent place in your home as a reminder of God’s faithfulness.
In our home, the family photos of our Ebenezers have helped our family prayer time. When we pray, we express our gratitude to God for his help and ask him to give us the strength to trust him. The photos remind us not only of the beautiful places our family has visited but also of God’s care and our promise of obedience to him.
Want to do a deep dive? Check out Family Fire's article Scripture Promises in Tough Times