"24 The LORD bless you and keep you; 25 the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26 the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace." - Numbers 6:24-26
Earlier this week I attended a healing retreat at Camp St. Christopher. The speaker was The Rev. Russ Parker, a minister from The Church of England and the founder of Acorn Christian Healing Foundation, a ministry whose purpose is to help people experience the healing touch of Jesus through listening, healing, and reconciliation. One entire morning session was on the art of blessing. As Russ began, I thought to myself, "What does blessing have to do with healing?", but as Russ continued, it made sense. To pray for healing is to pray that the Lord will heal someone so that they will flourish in health and wholeness. To bless someone is to call things out to cause the person to flourish. So healing and blessing are related.
When God blesses us, He calls us to flourish in the way He originally designed us to flourish. He pronounces good words or "well words" over us so that we may grow and thrive. Jesus has called us, His followers, to bless others in His Name so that they may flourish by knowing Him as Lord and Savior. All Christians are commissioned to be involved in a ministry of blessing. In 1 Peter 3:9 St. Peter writes - "Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing." According to Peter, we are commanded to bless. On top of that, we also obtain blessing when we bless others.
Blessing is somewhat of a lost art. Let's recover this Christian mandate and bless others. Why not start by starting to bless your own family? This type of prayer gives us a chance to ask The Lord to bless those closest to us. It is a prayer that honors God and a prayer that edifies our family. This makes Jesus smile! Since it might not be familiar to you, here are a few suggestions to help you bless others:
- Our words MUST affirm and approve.
- We MUST commend and compliment.
- We MUST speak out of love and affection.
- Our blessing should invoke hope for our loved-one(s) and confidence in them and our love and acceptance of them.
- We should focus on support and faith rather than pain and disappointments.
- We should demonstrate our trust that the Holy Spirit is doing a mighty work in their lives.
To bless is to ask for the Presence of God (or the return of God's Presence) on someone's life. We should want God to be very close to those we love in order for them to flourish, so perhaps we should start blessing them immediately. God bless you with your heart's desires and bring you to greater flourishing in your life; in Jesus' Name. Amen. That is my prayer for all of you.
Now, go bless someone else!