Why bless?

This week, several us joined together to place our hands on three people heading to Kenya on a short-term mission trip – and we blessed them in the name of God.

That blessing time had an impact on me – one of the blessers. And I think it had an effect on one of those blessed. She said after the prayer time: “I needed that. I’m glad I came tonight.”

What happened? I believe God was pleased with our blessings and was acting on them.

Our prayers were simple. We simply completed the sentence beginning: “May the Lord . . .” We prayed blessings of God’s joy and love and peace and fruit from their work. One blessing tumbled out after another as everyone prayed.

As many have pointed out, God blessed the first human beings – Adam and Eve – in the Garden of Eden with these words in Genesis 1:28: “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”

God’s words outlined his purposes and his plans for mankind. In the same way, we can pray blessings over each other, knowing that God has plans for our good. We know that God wants us to be filled with his joy, his love, his strength, his peace.

Why bless? Because God wants us to. Jesus said in Matthew 5:44 that we are to bless those who persecute us and Paul repeated that message in Romans 12. How much more are we to bless those we love?

That kind of praying can be powerful.

In his book The Power of Blessing, Kerry Kirkwood says he was infuriated when a driver cut in front of him as he and his wife were driving along a Dallas expressway. He called the driver an “idiot” and his wife asked: “What did you say?”

He realized what he was doing and was contrite. So he blessed the other driver, saying: “I bless you with everything God intends for you to have. I bless you with the knowledge of the Son of God, and you will get home safely and be a blessing to your family.”

Immediately, he felt the “pleasure of God flood my body”.

God is delighted to answer blessing prayers of that kind.

In his book, he tells the story of a family that was falling apart until the parents prayed blessings over their children. There are other stories of circumstances changing as people blessed others.

Perhaps the greatest change is in our own lives as we bless others.

I know I am often critical of other people. I realize that is wrong. I am not to curse – criticism is, in essence, cursing.

Blessing people I am unhappy with changes my own attitude as God fills me with his love and forgiveness. That can’t help but improve my relations with them.

Blessing others brings the blessing of inner peace in our own lives.

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