hedge of protection

One of my favorite Christianese expressions! Hedge of protection seems to hardly need an introduction, because it is one of the most popular Christianese expressions.

If you’ve never heard this phrase before,  take 2 minutes and watch this hilarious stand-up comedy bit by Tim Hawkins about the hedge of protection. One of his best bits of all time!

The hedge of protection is typically mentioned during prayer. Christians ask God to put a “hedge of protection” around someone they care about to keep them safe and protect them from harm. When someone is praying, they might even use this phrase like a formula, saying: “God, we pray a hedge of protection around our friend Joe here. Watch over him and keep him safe!” I’m sure the people praying can almost see a protective hedge materializing around their friend.

Praying for a “hedge” reminds me of another popular prayer phrase: laying out a fleece. Fleeces and hedges… if somebody didn’t know that Christianity’s roots began in a rural, agricultural area (such as the near Middle East), it wouldn’t take them long to figure it out, judging by the language we use when we pray.

What interesting or distinctive prayer phrases have you heard? Share in the comments!

hedge of protection n. God’s protection over someone. The term is typically used in the prayer formula pray a hedge of protection (see run-on entry below), but it can be used in other ways too (often with verbs such as build, place, put, and remove).
The exact phrase hedge of protection does not appear in the Bible. Hedges are mentioned as secure barriers around vineyards (Isaiah 5:5; Mark 12:1), and Satan refers to God’s protection and favor on Job as “a hedge around him” (Job 1:10). The Job 1:10 reference is the source of the imagery and language of hedge of protection.
Coverdale (1535) was the first Bible translator to use the word hedge in translating Job 1:10: “‘Hast thou not made an hedge about him and about his house, & about all that he hath on euery side?’” The Geneva Bible (1560), kjv (1611), and nearly all English Bibles since then have followed suit.
See also *hedge of angels; *hedge of thorns.
1976 LaHaye The Spirit-Controlled Woman 48 : Because Sarah is naive and often childlike, she needs a special hedge of protection built around her by the Holy Spirit. 1980 Skinner Back Where You Belong 85 : God has never promised to keep us out of trouble but to keep us from falling when we get into it. He gives no special hedge of protection for his children to claim as shelter from all the common woes of life. 1984 Robertson Answers to 200 of Life’s Most Probing Questions 122 : We also learn that God has placed a hedge of protection around us. 1989 Silvious Please Don’t Say You Need Me: Biblical Answers for Codependency 117 : As you go to the workplace each day, ask the Lord to put a hedge of protection around your mind to deflect Satan’s fiery darts, which come in the form of sensual or suggestive thoughts. 1994 Christenson What Happens When We Pray for Our Families 197 : As we deal with the specific requests, we make a point to enclose our children in God’s cocoon of protection. We ask for His angels to be present in their protective role. We ask for God’s hedge of protection to be established around us and the blood of Jesus to be applied to us. 2000 Pyle Triumph Over Trouble 80 : The Gulf War in the Middle East was won by the USA and our allies. Much prayer went up for our fighting forces. A Southern Baptist chaplain said he believes God placed “a hedge of protection” around allied soldiers in this war and that “the low casualty rate was His miracle.”
pray a hedge of protection v. phr. A prayer formula used to invoke God’s protection over someone. A typical usage looks like this: “Father God, I pray a hedge of protection over John and his family. Would you just watch over them and keep them safe from the enemy, and give them peace during this difficult time.”
Various prepositions can be used in the expression. The person praying might ask for the hedge to be around, about, or even over the person being prayed for.
The prayer for a hedge of protection is often used with other prayer formulas of protection; see *no weapons formed would prosper; *snares of the enemy; *surround with angels; and *traveling mercies. See also *prayer formulas.
1986 Wildmon The Case Against Pornography 150 : I pray a hedge of protection about my husband, but what else can I do to fight this evil? 1990 Lea Hearing Ear Learning: To Listen to God 135 : In addition to praying for a hedge of protection, you should also put on the whole armor of God…. Fully clad in the armor of God and encircled by God’s hedge of protection, you can stand secure in the victory Jesus has won for you. 1994 Dugan Heart to Heart with Pastor’s Wives 47 : Faithfully and consistently pray for your children…. Pray a hedge of protection around them daily and teach them God’s Word. 2004 Batterson ID: The True You 138 : I pray a “hedge of protection” around my kids all the time. I think a lot of us pray for traveling mercies. 2009 George What Pastors Wish Church Members Knew 39 : Often we pastors aren’t vocal enough in telling our congregations that we need them to pray a “hedge of protection” around us. When they pray for us, we’ll know we’re supported spiritually, and that ministry is not our work, but God’s work.
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  • Stu

    A responsible Disciple of Christ grounded in the Word of God would never use such a formulaic pseudo-christian formulaic incantation developed by the charasmaniacs in an effort to sound “spiritual” and sewn broadly by TBN over the decades because it leads young lambs astray as does such other loose tongued practices like “pleading the blood” or “binding and loosening” Folks who are so reckless will either be wearing a millstone or at best receive a harsh rebuke at the bema seat. I strongly recommend stopping such practices but I suppose you could get proud and defensive and put God to the test if you are that stubborn.

    • Thank you for sharing your perspective.

      By the way, the term “charismaniac” is defined on this site!

      http://www.dictionaryofchristianese.com/charismania-charismaniac-charisphobic-charisma-tick/

    • Miriam Storie

      I prayed a hedge of protection over my son every day and he was killed in a car wreck. I led a mom’s group where we prayed this every day. You can imagine my bewilderment when this didn’t “work” and we were left to pick up the pieces. The power comes from Jesus Christ. Not through the “power” we think WE have. It all had to be within His will. Could have VERY easily been led astray.

    • Heather McCrillis

      Why? Will you be handing them out and did you save a few for yourself?

  • CJ

    So where did this all start? Did the idea of needing a hedge begin with the charismatic movement?

  • paul

    We pray for protection, right? Why is it a problem to use imagery from the Bible when doing so? It was something that God had done for Job. It was not a physical hedge, but a symbol of God’s protective cover. Just because it is used by charismatics doesn’t necessarily make it wrong.

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