Prayer that Opens Doors 3: Blessing
When someone near you sneezes, do you, or does someone nearby say, “God bless you”? It happens often, doesn’t it.
And perhaps as a child in church you sang “Blessed to Be a Blessing.”
Do you hear or say “God bless you” any other time? Not too often, I imagine.
Yet we are called to be people of blessing—as a way of life.
To bless is to express good wishes or offer prayer to God for someone’s welfare and benefit.
We are to bless God
In Nehemiah 9:5 we read: And the Levites said, "Stand up and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting: 'Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise.'"
How do we bless God? We bless Him when we praise Him and thank Him, as we read in the first two parts of "Prayer that Opens Doors." Calling Him by one of His many names blesses Him, as does thanking Him for His beautiful character.
Surely we bless Him when we worship in song. How many times have you sung “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) from Psalm 103:1: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name.”
And I’m certain He is blessed when we live in love, mercy and grace toward others.
We are to bless others
God’s Word is filled with blessings—spoken to us and that we can speak to others. This one is a beautiful model for us:
Numbers 6:22-26: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
Speaking a blessing rarely entered my mind until a few years ago. I read a book on blessing, and God encouraged me to make it a way of life. So now I consciously speak blessing to almost everyone I encounter—a store clerk, finishing a phone call, at the doctor’s office, a homeless person. I end my emails and most communications with blessing words.
One of my favorite ways to bless someone is to pray for them in the form of a blessing, and even to write out such blessings for them. If I want to write a blessing, I think of needs a loved one has, of Scriptures to pray for them, of requests to ask for her, and I ask God for Scripture for those requests. A personal blessing might look like this:
A BLESSING FOR YOU
May you know that God delights in you and is crazy in love with you.
May you know what a treasure you are to me, to God and to His Kingdom
May Jesus satisfy your every need and your every desire
May you always walk in the Spirit.
May you love the Lord your God with all your heart.
May you love the lost into the Kingdom.
May you be filled up to overflowing with God’s abundant blessings.
We are to bless our enemies
Do you have enemies? Some of you probably have true enemies who threaten your lives. But most of us might consider those who speak ill of us, or abuse us emotionally, or compete against us intensely as foes. Sometimes those who annoy or irritate us can feel like enemies—someone whose negativity we have to endure.
Jesus made it clear: “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing,…so that you may inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:9)
How do we bless our enemies? We pray for them—asking God to do good to or for them. We speak words of encouragement and hope to them. We look for tangible ways to express kindness to them.
Some years ago there was someone in my life I didn’t really like in my life. Which she knew—my feelings were not hidden.
God said, “Judy, I want you to bless her. If she is to come to know me, she must see how much I love her through you.”
So I began a journey of intentionally blessing her. I chose to do tangible, helpful things as well as speaking love and grace to her. At first it was pure obedience. Then I began to really love her and desire to bless her. Eventually she began to believe I was sincere. She began to trust me. Our relationship grew into a real friendship.And there you see an open door. When we bless people, whether brief encounters or long-term relationships—and even our enemies—we hand God that key. With it He opens doors—to our hearts, to the hearts and minds of those we bless, and even to turn enemies into friends!
What about you? Is there someone you need to bless?
C2015 Judy Douglass