Construction and Prayer

Back in November, I planned to blog regularly about renovating the big, beautiful neo-Colonial home we bought in Texas to make into a bed and breakfast. Here it is March already, and have I begun said blog? Not so much.

Fortunately, the best time to stop procrastinating is now, and I’ve been keeping notes. This upcoming week, I will take you back to November 2018, and the house will smell slightly of disuse. The roofers will be hard at work when they’re not driven away by rain. The first floor will be without heat because the HVAC guy has shut down and tagged the fire breathing dragon known as the furnace. And we will arrive, tired and wondering what in the world we have gotten ourselves into as we stare at the fallen ceiling panels.

However, one item will not be in chronological order, and that’s what happened today.

Prayer has been on my mind a lot lately, and as Dan and I finished the trim around the garage doors on the carriage house, I found myself praying for each measurement, each pencil mark, each rotation of the table saw. This kind of prayer is different from normal prayer in that it is more stream of consciousness than formal petition. “Guide Dan’s hands on that cut. Keep him safe from harm. Help us accommodate that weird angle. Remind us of what we’re forgetting before it becomes a problem. Praying for less scrap here, Lord.” It’s fun, really. Sometimes I’m “in the zone” prayer-wise, and this was one of those times, when “give us this day our daily bread” and “not my will, but thine be done” become one and the same.

While Dan and I made some mistakes that cost us material before I prayed, none happened while I prayed.

Not five minutes after I began to pray, the saw blade bound up in the piece Dan was cutting. Part of the siding shot off the table while the rest did a bit of a dance and landed on the table with a thud. Dan wasn’t in the way because he knows where to stand (“This is why you don’t stand behind the blade”), and though the siding had some new, shallow cuts on the surface, it was still perfectly usable. No harm, no foul.

A few minutes after that, Dan couldn’t get the blade to move down for a shallower cut. He unplugged the saw and tilted the table at various angles, trying to figure out what had caught on the mechanism, and found precisely nothing. Rotate knob, scree, rotate back, tilt, look, rotate, scree. Pause, ponder, tilt, rotate, scree. Still praying, I wandered over to the knob and reached for it just as Dan asked, “Could you…?”

I moved the blade up. I moved the blade down. Dan’s eyes narrowed as he took in the now perfectly working machine. “How did you do that?”

“Prayer,” I said with a laugh.

Not that I did anything, of course. God speaks, and the world changes. That He leaves room through prayer so that His children can also delight in speaking and watching the world change, well, earthly fathers do something similar, holding their child’s hand to guide them in the act of creation. God took my hand and whispered, “Say it with me.”

On the surface, this was about a construction project. At a deeper level, this was about spending the day with my husband and my Heavenly Father.


  1. Cindy

    I have great faith in the constant, “little” prayers I make. “Pray without ceasing” has to include the small as well as the great. Looking forward to more of the house renovations!

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      Dawn Smit

      “‘Pray without ceasing’ has to include the small as well as the great.” So true. God wants to be involved in every aspect of our lives, not just the “big” ones.

  2. Roger Jetter

    Am looking for information on Gardenia Press of Milwaukee, WI…wondering if you know if they are still in business…??? Had an old ‘critique” from P. Elizabeth Collins on my fictional novel…wanted to contact her…

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