A fortress is a highly protected and impenetrable building—a stronghold in battle.
Martin Luther penned the words, “A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing.” (A bulwark is a fortified wall, like a dam, that would hold back whatever would seek to invade). Long before that, the psalmist penned Psalm 91:2, “I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” These writers knew the intimate peace of a protected place, a fortress that came from the protection of an Almighty God.
We have likely all had our living rooms disrupted by an architectural wonder made of chairs, blankets, and couch cushions, a fort where our kids can hide from the snares of cleaning their rooms and feel the close belonging of those invited into the space.
This month, we’d like to encourage you to build a family fort as a place to hide away and pray. It can be something you create in your living room with blankets and pillows or you may choose to create an outdoor fort following the directions below
As you build your physical fort and create a quiet and protected place to meet with God, discuss how the protection of God as our fortress makes you feel. Do you feel safe? Protected? Hidden?
Consider these occasions when you might come to your fortress to pray:
WHEN YOU NEED REST
• Psalm 91:1 declares, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Sometimes the intimacy of a fort allows rest, and God encourages us to find our rest in Him. Pray for peace and rest when you feel weary.
WHEN YOU FEEL AFRAID
• Psalm 91:4–5 comforts us with, “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings
you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day.” God will keep us safe from that which we fear, covering us and giving us refuge. Confess your fears to God and trust Him as a strong fortress.
WHEN YOU FEEL THREATENED
• Psalm 91:9–10 says, “If you say, ‘The Lord is my refuge,’ and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.” Tell God when you feel threatened by harm or disaster, and declare Him as your refuge.
WHEN YOU NEED REASSURANCE
• Psalm 91 ends with verses 14–16, “‘Because he loves me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.’” These verses encourage us to declare our love for God and to call on Him. God will be with us, deliver us, and honor us, and ultimately show His salvation. These verses say, “I know God and I am known by God.”
“God is our fortress” means we know Him as both intimate protector who covers us, and Almighty God who fights against our enemy.
Have fun as a family and build a prayer tent to remind your children that God is our fortress!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO BUILD A PRAYER TENT
• 4 yards of cotton fabric—upholstery weight is best (at least 54″ wide)
• 20 (1/2″) finishing screws
• power drill
• 4 (1 1/2″) wood screws
• 4 (1″ x 2″ x 6′) boards
• 1 (1″ x 2″ x 5′) board
• someone to hold the structure as you’re building
HOW TO BUILD A PRAYER TENT
1. Lay two 6-foot boards on top of each other—then measure down 10 inches and put one of the 1 1/2-inch wood screws through both boards.
2. Repeat on the other two long boards. And then spread them out to form an X on the top.
Now, have your friend hold one end of the two boards, while you hold the other. Place the one 5-foot board between the X in your boards.
3. Your fort’s basic structure is now finished. You can set it on the floor and it will stand up by itself. Using the finishing screws, attach the fabric to the 6-foot boards.