Spiritual Shelter

by Erin Mullen


“Every prayer and every sigh which you have uttered for [your descendants] and their future welfare will, in God’s time, descend upon them as a gentle rain of answers to prayers.” – OLE Hallesby (1879-1961), Norwegian pastor and writer

“And when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb (Christ), each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of fragrant incense, which are the prayers of the saints (God’s people).” Here in Revelation 5:8, we are given a picture of the “prayers of the saints” being held in “golden bowls full of fragrant incense.”

And every “Oily Mom” said, “AMEN!” No, but seriously. In a world of endless essential oil treatment combinations and diffusers of all shapes and sizes, I do not have to explain the imagery presented here of these stored up, continuously burning prayers. Ever before Him. Cherished in the most valuable of bowls. Not one prayer spilt. Not one prayer wafted away.

There is part of me that would like to glamourize this heavenly oil diffuser session, thinking it would be the sweetest and best of all concoctions this world has ever known. But there is another part of me that wonders what prayers with tears and sorrow would smell like? What do prayers of anger, resentment, and worry bring to the mix? Frankly, this mysterious book of the Bible does not give us any additional adjectives, besides “fragrant,” leaving it still very elusive.  

The fact remains, these prayers were essential enough to the 24 elders that this bowl and a harp is what they brought, facedown, to the Most High.

Prayer in one hand and Praise in the other says a lot.

So, can I be honest here? For the last nine months, my “prayer closet” has deliberately been designated within the four doors and behind the wheel of my old but reliable Honda Odyssey. No, I am not quiet-timing and driving. You see, I am like many moms with multiple kids. With multiple kids comes multiple carlines (twice-a-day I might add). And with that, there is always gap time.

For a while I could grab 45 minutes at home for my quiet time during this gap time, but my youngest spent the majority of it begging me to head to her school. So, the routine began. Drop two kids off at the elementary school and then drive on to the next drop off and be first in line.  And that is where I would invite the Lord to come and meet with me. In the middle of my smelly, crumb-filled, gray van, the Lord would graciously “draw near” (James 4:8) and “incline His ear to me” (Psalm 116:2), and I to Him. There were days I am sure my prayers smelt more like burning sage and less like lavender and chamomile.

Just recently I began using a new quiet time tool called, The One Year Praying the Promises of God. It is simple and concise, yet penetrating and applicable. On May 1st Jennifer Kennedy Dean words hit home:

“All that I invest in my personal relationship with the Lord will provide spiritual shelter for future generations…As I invest myself in knowing God, I am creating an increasingly secure fortress for my children.”

A maturing walk with the Lord is one of the greatest inheritances you can leave to the future branches of your family tree. The Lord does the building, the filling up, and the pouring out for His Glory.  

“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.” 2 Corinthians 2:14

Though I do not understand the smells of heaven or the longevity of the work of the Lord to future generations, His promises remain.

“Those who fear the Lord are secure; he will be a refuge for their children.” Proverbs 14:26

Moms, we have the ability to intercede on our family’s behalf. Go before the throne of God daily, building spiritual shelter for those entrusted to your care. 

Erin Mullen



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