Watching television lately has been so painful. Have you been watching the news? So much conflict. So many harsh words. So many accusations and insults. And how about those presidential debates? When's the last time you heard a good word--a word of blessing?
It’s made me think that it would be so helpful to rediscover, as a culture, the language of blessing. I’m not talking about saying a prayer before you eat. I don’t just mean having your pastor say something at the end of a service. And I’m not talking about empty, cotton candy language.
I’m talking about speaking words of substantial goodness to one another that actually bring blessing.
I’ve learned a lot over the years about the power of blessing—especially spoken blessing. Listen to these psalm lines that speak prayerful blessings:
May our sons in their youth
be like plants full grown,
our daughters like corner pillars,
cut for the building of a palace.
May our barns be filled
with produce of every kind;
may our sheep increase by thousands,
by tens of thousands in our fields,
and may our cattle be heavy with young.
May there be no breach in the walls,* no exile,
and no cry of distress in our streets.
Happy are the people to whom such blessings fall;
happy are the people whose God is the Lord.
I love these lines. “May” is the word that begins many of them. They are not merely personal. They are not just “me” prayers but “us” prayers. They are wishes for robust life, real beauty, great abundance and wealth, and protection from every source of real harm.
What blessing do I want to pray for the good of my family, my friends, my community, my nation? Here were some that came to mind.
May the men and women who are joining us in the work of Unhurried Living experience great healing and health of body, soul, mind and spirit.
May our every need and desire in our hearts to do good in honor of your kingdom be blessed beyond imagination.
May opportunities for spiritually and fruitful and kingdom-focused ministry open to each of us.
May our families hear the clear invitation of your Spirit to seek you, and may we seek you first in everything we do.
May our next decade be a season of recovering whatever the locusts have eaten in the past.
May we know deep peace, abounding joy, boundless love and holy power in our lives and in our work.
May you bring healing not only of body, but also of mind, relationships and vision to each of us. May we see you and your ways even more clearly than we have so far.
May you grant us clear vision and focused energy to work towards that vision together.
May your Spirit enable us to resist every empty distraction and, instead, fix our eyes on Jesus, setting our hearts and minds on what is above every merely human concern.
May we discern your heart and mind so that we might live our lives in the light of Who you are and what you are saying.
May we be as carefree in heart and mind as are the birds I hear outside now. They simply trust that they will be cared for day by day. May we as well.
May you grant our authors a great and holy resolve in the steady, stable, persistent, creative work of writing for the sake of others.
May we grow in holy boldness that leans into and steps through the fears that would prevent us from entering more deeply into your kingdom purposes for us.
May we discern ways in which we resist holy change so that we might overcome unholy immunity and embark on the sorts of change you wish for each of us and all of us together.
Where are you feeling a need for blessing in your own life? If God were to speak words of blessing over you, what might those words be?
As you look around you, where is blessing needed? Who is one person you could meet with, call, email or text some heartfelt words of blessing? When might you do that?