Insight From Isaac: Praying the Perimeter

This past week, Isaac the dog joined me in out-of-town travels. It had been a while since he’d been on a road trip and an even longer time since he stayed in a hotel. When we reached our destination after nearly three hours in the car, I had one focus: check in and settle into our room. Isaac had a different focus: walk around the building’s perimeter.

After a tug-of-leash war at the hotel’s front entrance, where we made the automatic door open and close far too many times, I gave into Isaac’s demands to sniff a few bushes. When we reached a corner of the building, we had another standoff where I tried to drag him back to the front door. Before long, I gave in, and we ended up slowly circling the whole building. We followed his canine instinct to investigate new territory.

Every time we returned from an outing in the car after that, he wanted to walk the whole perimeter again — and again. At first I could only think of the amount of time we spent making the same circle. I was on a schedule one particular day with a meeting, and I tried to hurry him without using the word, “hurry.” My efforts did not work, and I’m glad they didn’t.

12 Then Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. 13 The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord passed on, blowing the trumpets continually. The armed men went before them, and the rear guard came after the ark of the Lord, while the trumpets blew continually. 14 On the second day they marched around the city once and then returned to the camp. They did this for six days.

15 On the seventh day they rose early, at dawn, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times.
— Joshua 6:12-15

Before the walls of Jericho came a’tumblin’ down, Joshua and the Israelites walked in long, seemingly endless circles of the city’s perimeter. Their obedience required effort, persistence, and patients. There were no immediate results, but they continued in light of God’s promises and instructions. The time spent making those circles was not a waste. Instead, that time was spiritual warfare.

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When we pray about the walls in our lives that need to come down, we may feel as if we’re walking in circles. We may become discouraged with the repetitive words and pleas. We get in a hurry to move on to what’s next in our lives. Yet God calls us like Joshua to press on in faith, trusting his power will bring the victory.

Let us try to slow down our conversations with God. Let us try to pray not only on-the-go or in-the-moment. Let us take the time to pray the perimeter of Jerichos in our lives. Let us rise, march, return, and like Isaac, sniff, in rituals of prayer so that the walls do indeed crumble as God builds us into his new creation.

all good things to each of you,

Pastor Darian (and Paw-stor Isaac)