Shannon Acheson, decorator, mom, and author of the new book, Home Made Lovely, has learned a few things about making a house a home. In the 24 years she’s been married, she and her husband, Dean, have lived in 11 different homes. For Shannon, home is the most important place on earth, and her passion is showing other women how to make their homes into beautiful, grace-filled, peaceful spaces. It’s a grace to welcome Shannon to the farm’s front porch today…
When visiting, people have often told us how peaceful our home feels.
I always smile when they say this because I know creating that feeling and special place of rest isn’t a coincidence or accident. It is something that we have been very deliberate about.
As a decorator, I make our family and friends comfortable in our home by making it physically welcoming right from the moment they see our front door.
As a Christian decorator, my approach is somewhat different than other decorators though.
Why You Need to Be Intentional with Your Home
In Ephesians 6:12, the Bible tells us that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
I believe this verse to be true. Yes, spiritual warfare is very real, even in this “enlightened” day and age. People with the spiritual gift of discernment know this very well and can often recognize that something feels off.
But even without that God-given gift, someone can feel relaxed or stressed in a space too; they just aren’t able to articulate why.
If you live in an older home, other families have lived there before yours. Families that maybe had opposite beliefs to yours. Families that had plenty of their own inherited issues. Maybe a family lived there that watched horror movies or messed around with Ouija boards or palm reading. Things that, as Christians, we know we’re not supposed to do because of the power who’s behind those things (hint: it’s not your heavenly Father).
Even if you live in a brand-new home, there have been many people going in and out, building, constructing, and inspecting. That’s a lot of opportunity for negative spiritual influence in what is now your home.
Dean and I have lived in a lot of places over the years. We got married when we were young, and I went to college after we were married. As a result, we rented many apartments. We were not yet Christians, and I spent a lot of time feeling fearful in those apartments. At the time, I couldn’t put my finger on why. Looking back, I now know it was because of some of my own and a lot of other people’s spiritual junk pressing in on me.
To Whom Does Your House Belong?
After becoming a Christian in 2002 (Dean and I answered the same altar call when I was hugely pregnant with our second child, but that is a story for another day), I began reading the Bible and studying Scripture more. In time, I came upon Joshua 24:15, now a familiar verse, which reads in part, “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
This was a slow-burn lightbulb moment for me in my home journey—kind of like those old-school energy-efficient lightbulbs that were dim when they were first turned on, but got brighter the longer they were left on. Remember those?
Everything we own as Christians belongs to God. We are simply stewards or caretakers of all that we have.
With that stewardship comes a choice of who we are going to serve with those possessions: ourselves, the devil, or our heavenly Father.
We have many options for dedicating our home to God and marking it for His service. Some are mere reminders, others are bolder statements and declarations. We can
- write Scripture on the literal walls and floors of our home,
- buy or create art to put on display, and
- do a house blessing.
How to Do a House Blessing
A house blessing in its simplest form, is a way of blessing our homes and dedicating them to God and His purposes. It’s a way of protecting our homes from spiritual danger, much like we do by locking the doors to protect our homes and ourselves from physical danger.
You can perform a house blessing by yourself, with your spouse, or with friends and family. Traditionally, in many Christian denominations, this house blessing has been performed by a minister or priest.
If you’ve never done a house blessing before, here’s how:
- Remove Things
Remove anything from your home that has dark roots—books, movies, posters, clothing, video games, etc. If you can’t think of anything off the top of your head, pray about it and ask the Holy Spirit. This step is about closing doors and declaring that you don’t want evil in your home in even the smallest ways.
- Invite Close Friends and Family
Get your Christian friends and family involved in this blessing. Having loved ones be a part of the blessing can add to the experience and give them a chance to bless your home as well.
- Pray through Each Room of Your Home
This is the core part of a house blessing and is sometimes called a prayer walk. It is the process of consecrating (making holy) your home and dedicating it as holy ground.
To do a house blessing:
- Begin on the lowest level of your home.
- Pray for each room over each doorway and around each window.
- Continue to walk through your home praying for each room in each space, moving through your house. Don’t forget closets, stairwells, laundry rooms, garages, and bathrooms.
- Finish by praying over each of the four walls on the outside of your home as well as the lowest floor and the highest ceiling (or roof). Extend this to the four sides of your property too. This is sort of like putting your home in a big protective box.
The focus of your prayers should be on the home and those who dwell in it. However, you can customize your prayers to be whatever you feel is needed. The goal of these prayers is to
- rebuke the devil and shut down and shut out anything that’s not of God.
- invite the Holy Spirit into your home so that He may fill it, protect it, and bless it.
Pleading the blood of Jesus Christ over each space is also very powerful. You can say something like “I plead the blood of Jesus Christ of Nazareth between myself/my home/my family and the entire realm of spiritual darkness.”
If someone (you or an invited family member or friend) has the spiritual gift of discernment, that can be very helpful for discerning any specific prayers that need to be prayed.
- Anoint Your Home with Oil
There is nothing mystical or magical about anointing your home with oil, and it is an optional part of the house blessing. It is powerfully symbolic though.
Anointing oil is simply oil that has been dedicated to use for God’s purposes. You can simply use olive oil that has been placed in a small vial and been prayed over, asking God to cleanse it and dedicate it to His use. Using anointing oil is a symbol of your faith in God’s absolute holiness.
To anoint your home with oil, simply mark a cross in the outer walls, windows, floors, ceilings, and door posts with the oil. Ask God to fill your home with His Holy Spirit and that every single thing that happens in your home will be only according to His will. This step can be done while you walk through each room praying or as a separate step at another time.
Blessing Your Home Has Nothing to Do with Your Salvation
The Lord is sovereign, and He already has the victory in all things.
Blessing your house or not blessing your house won’t make or break your salvation. That is by the work of Jesus alone, and He doesn’t need your help with it (Ephesians 2:8).
But dedicating your home to God with Scripture and asking for His holy protection and blessing over it affects how you live your life and freedom here on earth.
By doing the things that I’ve talked about in this post and even layering all three things together (Scripture tucked away in the walls, displayed as art, and said aloud as a house blessing), you will find that your home is more peaceful and even tangibly more comfortable than before.
Shannon Acheson is a mostly self-taught designer and author. She is the editor and designer behind the blog HomeMadeLovely.com. Her happy place is in the suburbs of Toronto, where she is a Homebody with a capital H, a Jesus girl, a happy wife to Dean, and a homeschooling mom of two teenagers and a twenty year old.
Everyone wants a home that is beautiful and clutter free. But most of us are unsure how to get there without breaking the bank. Popular interior designer Shannon takes the guesswork out of creating a lovely home. Home Made Lovely is a mind-set: decorating should be about those who live there, rather than making your home into a magazine-worthy spread. Shannon walks you through how to brush up on hospitality with more than 20 actionable ideas that will make anyone feel welcome and loved in your home.
In Home Made Lovely, Shannon meets you right where you are on your home-decorating journey, helping you share the peace of Jesus with family members and guests.
[ Our humble thanks to Bethany House for their partnership in today’s devotion ]