Praying A
The Hedge
Praying a hedge is an expression used by many Believers to pray a specific prayer for those who have gone astray
in spiritual, family, and other types of relationships.

I. Definition:  A hedge in Biblical times was often a border of thorny bushes around a garden or vineyard to protect it from outside invaders. The following are some examples from Scripture.

A. "The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain" (Proverbs 15:19).

B. "And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down" (Isaiah 5:5).

C. "And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country" (Mark 12:1)

II. A spiritual expression: In Scripture the hedge is also used to express a wall of protection from outside destruction or wrong outside influence.
A. In the book of Job when Satan met with God concerning Job, Satan's complaint was that he was unable to touch Job because God had placed a hedge about Job.   "Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land" (Job 1:10).  God agreed to lift the hedge, but only to a degree.  Satan was permitted to take away his possessions, his sons, and his health, but NOT to take his life.  "And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life" (Job 2:6).

B. God said that he desired that someone would intercede (pray an hedge about) for Israel, but that He found none. "And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none"  (Ezekiel 22:30).

C. Moses stood in the gap of the hedge for the people.  "Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them" (Psalms 106:23).

D. Samuel did not want to sin by not interceding in prayer. "Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way"  (I Samuel 12:23).

III. A Study of Hosea:
    Hosea was instructed to marry a daughter of a prostitute and live out a prophecy concerning Israel.  "The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD" (Hosea 1:2).  We should understand that prostitution can be an iniquity (a bent toward sin) and a generational curse. Please see: How To Destroy The Evil Tree.  However, it would not be in the nature of God to ask a prophet like Hosea to marry a prostitute.

    God instructed Hosea to marry Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim.  The name "Diblaim" means "a double layered fruit cake" possibly that of figs or grapes. In the Hebrew culture it would have special meaning and translated into our culture she would be "a real cheese cake".  In other word, Diblaim was the desired prostitute of that day.  The name of Gomer also had special significance.  It meant "completion" or "end'. Again, in our culture we might describe her as the "living end" or "really hot".  You could well imagine that when God told Hosea to go and marry this young woman, Gomer, this daughter of the desired prostitute, who was the living end that Hosea said, "YEAH!" and didn't waste moment in marrying her.

    Gomer became pregnant and gave birth to Jezreel.  "So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son. And the LORD said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel" (Hosea 1:3-4).  Therefore Hosea became the proud father of a son.

    Gomer conceived again and bore a daughter; however, God told Hosea to name the child, Loruhamah.  Loruhamah meant "no mercy".  "And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away" (Hosea 1:6).  Again, we should remember that Hosea is living out a prophecy conerning Israel.  Gomer conceived again an bore another son, named Loammi meaning "not my people".  "Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God" (Hosea 1:9).  Hosea was the father of Jezreel, but the following two children were not Hosea's children.  The generational curse of prostitution began to take effect in the life of Gomer and she began to sell herself as a prostitute.  "Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah.  Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts;  Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst.  And I will not have mercy upon her children; for they be the children of whoredoms. For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink"  (Hosea 2:1-5).

    God then says that He will put a HEDGE around Gomer.  "Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths. And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now" (Hosea 2:6-7). Remember that the hedge is to be a wall of protection from wrong outside influence.  Gomer would not be able to fulfill her own ungodly purpose.  She would follow after her lovers but would not be able to overtake them.  She would seek after her lovers but not be able to find them  God said that He would cause her to see that it was better with her husband than with anyone else.

    How would this come about? "For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal.   Therefore will I return, and take away my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness.  And now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of mine hand" (Hosea 2:8-10).  Gomer was into prostitution for the goods that she would receive through prostitution.  We often hear that people have gone into prostitution for the "easy" money.  However, God said that he would cut off her lovers and take away her income that she received through prostitution.  We don't know how long this hedge was set in place by God, but the hedge took effect. Gomer lost her income and came to experience poverty.

    She came to the place where she went so far into debt that she sold herself as a slave.  Next, we see Gomer was on the auction block for the price of a cheap slave.  "Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.   So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley" (Hosea 3:1-2).  Just as a reminder, silver was the less valuable money and barley was the hard cheap grain.  Hosea obeyed God and purchased her back to become his wife again.  Hosea didn't condemn her, but began to speak life into their marriage. "And I said unto her, Thou shalt abide for me many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man: so will I also be for thee" (Hosea 3:3).  In effect, Hosea is prophesying over his over his marriage.

    The next two verses imply that Hosea adopted the two children that was not his and that he thus broke the generational curse. "For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim:  Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days" (Hosea 3:4-5).

    Peter applies the story of Hosea, his marriage, and his children to the New Covenant.  We were not the children of God and had not received the mercy of God, but as Believers we are chosen by God to be adopted by God and to become His children and receive His mercy.   "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy" (I Peter 2:9-10).

IV. Application:
A.  If you know of someone who is rebelling against the way of God, seeking the wrong way for their lives, and coming under wrong outside influence, your praying the hedge for them may make a dramatic effect in their lives. Maybe your spouse is seeking ungodly counsel from another family member, a man friend, or even a minister.  Maybe you have a child that is on the wrong path and being influence by ungodly friends.  Praying the hedge about them may change their lives. Here are some factors to remember:
1. Although God has given us a free will, He knows how to put pressure in one's life to cause a change of mind.  Remember that God changed the mind of Pharaoh when at first he would not allow the Hebrew children to go.  "Then the LORD said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land" (Exodus 6:1).

2. I would recommend that you find another Believer who will agree in faith and pray the hedge with you on a regular (daily, if possible) basis. "Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 18:19).

3. I can't tell you how long to pray the hedge, whether it be six months, a year, or ten years. One should ask God and pray until God says to stop.  "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27).

4. While you are praying the hedge and as it takes effect by blocking the ungodly purposes of the individual and cutting off the wrong outside influences, the individual may become frustrated and very angry.  That anger may also be displaced and vented toward you if you have been close to the individual or if the individual is carrying any offenses toward you.  Saul's anger toward his wife was displaced toward Jonathan. "Then Saul's anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said unto him, Thou son of the perverse rebellious woman, do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse to thine own confusion, and unto the confusion of thy mother's nakedness" (1 Samuel 20:30).

5. God especially works through the authority of  those praying.  When the husband prays for the wife, the prayer carries special weight.  When parents pray for their children that also carries special weight. The prayer of the wife for her husband are significant, because husband and the wife are to be one in marriage. Indeed, her prayers carry special weight.  See: Response To Authority.

6. Again, one must allow time for the prayer of the hedge to take effect and time for God to work!  Daniel prayed for twenty-one days before he received the answer to his prayers. "Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.  But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia" (Daniel 10:12-13).

7. One must be ready to forgive when someone returns and one must be ready to avoid any condemnation.  "So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow"  (II Corinthians 2:7).  Instead of criticism, one must be ready to speak life into to the relationship.   "A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit" (Proverbs 15:4).

B. When nothing else works, there may be a harder solution.. If after considerable time, one sees no effect of the hedge, one may need to come to turn the individual over the Satan for destruction of the flesh in hopes that this will bring repentance. "To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus"  (I Corinthians 5:5).  This grave action should only be considered as a last resort and with a proper attitude, not of revenge or punishment, but having of a desire for freedom and redemption of the individual.
IV. Remember the father of the prodigal son.
    When the young man demanded his portion of his father's inheritance, the father did not try to keep his son from leaving, but gave him his inheritance and allowed him to leave. "And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living" (Luke 15:12).  He did not try to control the young man by making the decisions for him, but allowed him to make the decisions for himself.

    We should also note that the Father did not follow after the young man, but allowed the young man to experience the consequences of his rebellion.  "And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him" (Luke 15:13-16).

    The young man needed to come to understand the fear of the Lord by connecting his actions and the consequences for his actions. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  "And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!   I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants" (Luke 15:17-19).

    All the time that the young man was gone, the father kept looking for his return and was ready to receive him back.  "And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him" (Luke 15:20). Instead of scolding him for his rebellion, he embraced him, honored him with a ring, shoes, and a robe.  "And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.  But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet" ( Luke 15:21-23).  The father even celebrated his return with a party just for him. "And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:  For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry" (Luke 15:24-25).

    Even when the young man's older brother became angry thinking that it was unfair that his father give his brother a special party, the father would not listen to the accusations, but defended the return of the prodigal son.   "It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found" (Luke 15:32).

V. Intercessory Prayer is needful.
A. Samuel declared the importance of intercessory prayer.  "Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way" (I Samuel 12:23).

B. Job prayed for his friends.  "And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before" (Job 42:10).

C. Paul prayed for the Believers at Ephesus. "Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;  That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him" (Ephesians 1:16-17).

D. James exhorts us to pray for one another. "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James 5:16).

E. Paul concludes his discussion on spiritual warfare by saying that we enter spiritual warfare through prayer.  "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;  And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel" (Ephesians 6:18-19).