downloadOne of the greatest joys of my life is my children and grandchildren. In the past week, my wife Terese and I had the privilege of watching our grandson for an evening and our granddaughters for two days. Their energy both invigorated and exhausted us, but we loved every minute with them.

Our ritual toward the end of each day was to sit and read books with the kids. Terese is a master of many voices (I think she should be doing voice work for kids’ TV shows!) and I also get into voicing the unique characters of each story.  Our grand kids totally enjoyed the characters’ funny voices as they were drawn more and more into each story. Soon they were calm and relaxed as they rested their heads on our arms.

As we finished the reading time, we prayed with and over them. Notice I didn’t say we just prayed with them (which we did), but we also prayed over them. After they voiced their prayer requests (for Mom, Dad, friends, and others), I gently placed my hand on their head and prayed over them. The entire prayer only lasted a few seconds. The Bible describes this as a blessing.

The dictionary defines a blessing as the invoking of God’s favor upon someone. Interestingly, the dictionary also describes it as an act of worship.

Jesus often blessed people, young and old, through both his words and his touch, as shown in this famous passage:

“…then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them” Matthew 19:13

I prayed over my children almost daily when they were young, extending my hand over their heads as I prayed, sometimes even as they slept. I’m convinced these blessing prayers made a difference in their lives, and I still bless them when we are together, and they are open to it. My blessing prayer for them is filled with the love that God has placed in my heart for them, so I know that He desires to bless them!

I have counseled couples whose weddings I have officiated to pray together and bless each other with both words and touch, and to do the same if they ever have children.

Terese and I hold hands as we pray together every day, and ask for God’s blessing over each other, our family, our friends, the Church, our nation, and the world.  In our church, we will sometimes lift our hands to God in worship, acclaiming Him as our Lord with a posture of praise that goes all the way back to the Old Testament.

The same hands that worship God can also extend His blessing to others.

John Trent and Gary Smalley wrote of the five elements of a biblical blessing *

•    Meaningful and appropriate touch
•    A spoken message
•    Attaching high value to the one being blessed
•    Picturing a special future for him or her
•    An active commitment to fulfill the blessing

The bottom line of blessing people is this: there must be respect and sensitivity shown. Blessings should be offered but never forced onto someone. Blessings should spring from obedience to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and not out of a legalistic or even idol-like view of blessing.

So, my fellow worshipers of the One True God, I invite you to bless someone you love in the coming days, as He leads you. Here is a simple blessing prayer right from the Bible:

“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.”
Numbers 6:24-26

God bless you!
Chris Atkins

I ask for your blessing prayers for the work God is doing through my new book  “The Isaiah Encounter: Living An Everyday Life of Worship”. Here are two links to share with someone you want to bless:

Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Isaiah-Encounter-Living-Everyday-Worship-ebook/dp/B019CCJLXI

Barnes and Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-isaiah-encounter-chris-atkins/1122720646?ean=9781630477523

* Source: “How to bless your child, part 1” http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/spiritual-growth-for-kids/blessing-your-child/how-to-bless-your-child-part-1

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