I have long been intrigued by a story in the book of Genesis.  It is thstone or a pillare story of Jacob, in obedience to his father, traveling toward Haran to obtain a wife from his mother’s people.  Jacob had a dream (Genesis 28:10-22) in which it was clearly revealed that God was with him.  It was a promise of blessing.  When Jacob awoke from his sleep he cried out, using words that have become a prayer for me:  Truly Yahweh is in this place and I did not know it.  Then he took the stone he had used for a pillow, poured oil over it and acknowledging the holiness of the place where God had visited him, marked that place as a memorial—a place of remembrance.

Jacob transforms his stone pillow into an altar.  Rituals such as these can be good for the soul.  I have no doubt that there are many places where God has visited you and you did not know it.

 stone in desert

I, for one,     

would rather have a stone

for an altar

than a pillow. 



Are their places in your life where God once seemed absent:  moments of fear, doubt, brokenness, sorrow, darkness, sin, misunderstandings, discouragement, anger, and guilt?  You, too, can wake up and after a period of reflection and prayer, cry out: Truly Yahweh was in this place and I did not know!

There are also  times when we fail to recognize moments of grace.  We are standing knee-deep in gifts from God and do not acknowledge these gifts are heaven-sent.  We fail to recognize the moment of God’s visitation.  There are moments of beauty, wonderful accomplishments, joyful celebrations, affirmations and inspirations.  We can also stand before these moments with the realization: Truly Yahweh was in this place and I did not know!

So why not build a memorial altar representing the moments of God’s visitation, the moments we almost missed. 

Pick up your stones one by one, each stone a prayer:

A hand holding up a heart of stone



stones, biblical days



  1. What a lovely ritual to practice…creating small altars in varioius places. It would be lovely to mark places with these small altars as our way of celebrating God’s presence even when we were not aware of it. Rocks for pillows don’t appeal to me either, Sister Macrina!

  2. Add my thank you to all those that Macrina must have for sharing her prayer
    life and insights into Scripture. This has allowed me to pray again in life’ s
    trying circumstances. After reading and seeing Macrina’s books and photography prayer just naturally wells up from my ❤️🙏🏻

  3. Thank you for this blog and the insights you share. You’ve been gifted with a talent for sharing so beautifully the ways in which we can encounter and commune with God in all of the moments throughout the day.