The practice of pronouncing blessings

All I’m saying is anybody can do this.
Anyone can ask and anyone can bless, whether anyone has authorized you to do it or not.
All I’m saying is that the world needs you to do this, because there is a real shortage of people willing to kneel wherever they are and recognize the holiness holding its sometimes bony, often tender, always life-giving hand above their heads.
That we are able to bless one another at all is evidence that we have been blessed, whether we can remember when or not.

– Barbara Brown Taylor

God-bless-you-sneezeOffering blessings is a spiritual discipline to practice. Maybe all we know so far is to say “God bless you” when someone sneezes.

But as believers, we have so much more to offer.

As we receive our own blessings from God, we then can share them with somebody else.

What happens when we do?

1. We come nearer to the heart of God

When we consciously choose to speak God’s blessings into the lives of our friends, we press in closer to hear His heart so we’ll know what to offer. Listen to His blessings the apostles’ wrote:

May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
1 Peter 1:2

May the God of peace equip you with everything good to do his will.
Hebrews 13:20-21

We can use theirs to create our own blessings based on truths we’ve learned from the Lord:

May the love of the Father awaken you; may the presence of the Son enliven you; may the breath of the Spirit empower you, to hope in His grace and to follow His will today.

2. We exercise our priestly duties

Are we qualified for this? Yes! We are a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), uniquely positioned to remind others of the gifts prepared for them by our good Father (James 1:17).

We’re not called to spectate as others give blessings; we’re called to participate. To bless and be blessed (1 Peter 3:9).

3. We feed a world hungry for God

By deciding to bless others as a spiritual discipline, we become more aware of those around us needing our Savior’s sweet touch.

Who could use a blessing from you this month?

  • A teacher: “May the Lord bless your work as you pour knowledge into the minds of children.”
  • A friend traveling: “May your presence be light and salt in every city you enter.”
  • A troubled sister: “May the Lord grow your peace by leaps and bounds and fill you with strength to endure every trial with hope.”
  • Your child: “May you grow in wisdom and understanding to see God’s love for you through my love for you.”
  • Your parents: “May you be richly replenished throughout your golden years for giving me life and teaching me to love the Lord.”

Say it. Pray it. Write it. Type it.
In person, in a card, in an email, over the phone. Just do it.

Friends don’t let friends live unblessed. Don’t let yours go until you bless them (Genesis 32:26).

The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

* * *

When have you received a blessing from someone? Who can you bless this month?

A year’s worth of Spiritual Disciplines from Barbara Brown Taylor’s book, An Altar in the World:

revised from Let’s Mean It – “God Bless You!”

25 thoughts on “The practice of pronouncing blessings

  1. Linda@Creekside

    Mmm … lovely and inspiring, Lisa. I’m just sitting here wondering what fragrance would fill our homes if they became havens of blessing. That we would offer words of grace when we rise and as we fall asleep. If we would speak blessing as a familiar face enters the door, weary and heavy laden. And if we would send a loved one on their way into the world with words of grace and confidence.

    Musing this morning with you, my friend …

  2. Joe Pote

    I love this post, Lisa! What a beautiful reminder of the importance of blessing!

    May God continue to richly bless your life and ministry, as you continue to share His words of comfort and encouragement with others.

  3. Mia

    Hi Lisa
    As I was reading your post, I thought of Jacob who tied so heard to make things work out in his own strength. He had to wrestle with God alone, and didn’t give up until he was blessed by the Almighty. Our Pappa’s blessings was to take his natural ability away through the injury to his hip and it was from such a place where he could bless his sons. I have found in my life this also to be true. My blessings without my heart resting safely in our Lord Jesus never brought life to anyone and was only empty words.
    Blessings XX

  4. Beth

    I definitely have felt this “blessing” as others have prayed for me in my new health crisis, Lisa. It’s been amazing how God has touched me through the blessing of prayers. I’m definitely going to “bless” someone today. This is such a great reminder and, you’re so right, we have God’s power at our disposal. Why don’t we use it to bless others more?

  5. PL

    Another enticing glimpse.

    The “may” form feels a bit artificial however.

    When I pray I sometimes ask God to help this or that person in some particular way. I use ordinary language (no swearing I promise). What you describe, is it like a public, vocal prayer? “I pray that God bless X with Y”? What I mean is I don’t quite understand your point #2 (hey I like your tooltips!)



    1. Lisa notes...

      I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to do it. I’d even say there’s a different way and different words for each person and on each occasion because every person and circumstance is unique. Sometimes vocal; sometimes private; etc. And yes, ordinary language from me, too.

      Sometimes I pray specific blessings, yes, like, “bless X with Y”. Other times, not, because frankly, sometimes (often?) I can’t see past my own selfish motives. Perhaps using “may” is my way of keeping it as a request, not as a demand that God do what I say….

      The beauty of it is that we can trust that ultimately God answers in good and loving ways, even if we mess up the request on our end. 🙂

      #2–What I mean by “exercising our priestly duties” is that often I can feel it’s not “my place” to do this or that, but in reality, I am as much a priest, purposed to declare the beauties of God’s grace, as any “ordained” clergyman. To bless others is something all believers can participate in.

  6. Kim Adams Morgan

    Lisa, Such encouragement and wisdom here today. We do have this power. Maybe some don’t know; maybe we forget, but we are the disciples spreading the message of Christ. If we are not giving blessings to others, along with Our Father, who will? That only leaves the enemy to spread curses…

    We must!

    So glad to stop by today for this urgent reminder. Thank you thank you thank you!

  7. ceil

    Hi Lisa! ‘We are not called to spectate’ is such a great thought. Faith isn’t faith unless it’s put into practice, and that’s whats needed to get up the strength to bless someone. I know I hesitate sometimes because I’m not sure how it will be accepted. But if someone says ‘no thanks’ that should be ok with me.
    Why feel bad about that? It’s my own insecurity talking!
    Wonderful, encouraging post today 🙂

  8. Dolly@Soulstops

    I want to thank God for you and how you bless many and others with your words of wisdom here…may God continue to bless you with His peace and wisdom as you bless others….what a great reminder…thank you 🙂

  9. laura

    I especially love the examples you give, Lisa. Sometimes I just can’t think of the right words but these are lovely. I’m copying them down and maybe looking up some more. Thank you 🙂

  10. Hazel Moon

    Even your suggestions on how to bless are a blessing. Thanks for a lovely post that reminds us to not just pray that God with bless, but to do some blessing on our own to others. I loved this one “May the Lord grow your peace by leaps and bounds and fill you with strength to endure every trial with hope.”

  11. Katie

    When have I been blessed? I can think of many times these last several years I have been blessed by others. You blessed me with the book. Others blessed us financially to help us out while I look for full time work. Others listened to my struggles with love and no judgement. A friend just today gave me a ticket to the Merry and Bright Christmas Party for the Women’s Ministry at church tonight, so tonight is girl night!

    Who can I bless? I try to pass these same blessings on to others as I am able to. If nothing else I pray for them. I pray for you as you come to mind dear friend. Thank you for this post reminding me to give what I receive and show God’s love to others.

  12. brian miller

    nice…what a very cool challenge…and what a difference those blessings would be to be shared with others…i like you practical ideas of who to bless as well…i would def be down with that…smiles…good to see you…hope you had a great thanksgiving…and a blessed christmas coming up as well…busy as ever here…we planted a church about 6 months ago with several other couples…been fun, but def work, on top of work and life and all…smiles.

  13. ~ linda

    POWERFUL words, and words I am so grateful to have read. Yes, we all need blessings, but we as His Royal Priesthood need to remember that we are and that we can give blessings because they are from Him. You have my mind reeling for ways to bless others in my daily walk in life.

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