Cultivating the Way of Blessing

blessing blog prayer social media Aug 25, 2021

Watching television or social media news feeds has been so painful lately. So much conflict. So many harsh words. So many accusations and insults. When was the last time you heard a good word—a word of blessing?

 

It’s made me (Alan) think that it would be so helpful for us as a culture to rediscover the language of blessing. I’m not just talking about praying before meals or the pastor saying some nice words at the end of a service. Words of blessing are just nice words to make people feel O.K. They are so much more.

 

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 of spoken blessing. Read these lines from Psalm 144 that demonstrate prayerful blessings:

 

Reflection: Psalm 144:12-15 (NRSV) 

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. Notice how many of them begin with the word may. 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.

 

How to Bring Blessing to Others 

What blessing do I want to pray for the good of my family, my friends, my community, my nation? Here are 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 be met and may the desire in our hearts to do good in honor of Christ’s kingdom be blessed beyond imagination.
  • May opportunities for spiritually fruitful, kingdom-focused ministry open to each of us.
  • May our families hear the clear invitation of your Spirit to seek you, God, and may we give you first priority 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 to each of us healing not only of body but also of mind, relationships, and vision. May we see you and your ways more clearly than we ever have.
  • May you grant us clear vision and focused energy to work toward 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 the birds that I hear outside my window. They simply trust that you will care for them day by day. May we trust you to care for us 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.

 

Amen.

 

Reflection Questions 

  • 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 to offer some heartfelt words of blessing? When might you do that?

 

Photo by Andrew Ridley on Unsplash