May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
Blessing others with our words and with our actions is a powerful form of prayer. When we express gratitude, we offer the prayer of blessing. When we affirm the gifts and the good we see in another person we offer the prayer of blessing. When we envision a hopeful future, we offer the prayer of blessing. When we treat others with respect and kindness, we offer the prayer of blessing.
Many of us have become accustomed to words and actions that discourage and destroy rather than words that build up and encourage. The shame associated with these words and actions can easily become internalized as a kind of self-condemnation or self-loathing. This leaves us with a private internal despair, seeing our contributions as insignificant, seeing ourselves as of little value, or seeing our futures as bleak.
Words and actions of blessing have the power, over time, to do the opposite. They have the power to heal, the power to strengthen, the power to bring hope.
Blessing is not the same as flattery, it is not the same as trying to change someone’s mood by inflating their egos. Words and actions of blessing are always grounded in reality. The more we see other people as loved and valued by God and the more we trust that God actively cares for each human being, the more our eyes open to see others through eyes of love and respect.
The waiter that just brought us coffee is of infinite value. The person who is checking our groceries is deeply loved. Our friend is a delight to God.
Each person we encounter is a treasure. When we see this, we are more likely to listen attentively to others’ needs. We are more likely to look for ways to offer genuine hope and affirmation to people in our lives. We are more likely to come along side others to provide compassionate care and support.
The prayer of blessing is sometimes offered spontaneously and sometimes it is offered more formally. A more formal prayer of blessing might be, for example, something we write in a birthday card, or a note at Thanksgiving. Or it might be something we express in a thoughtful act of kindness.
Words and actions are powerful. They can tear down. Or they can build up.
May we offer the prayer of blessing to others with words and actions that express gratitude, affirmation and hope today.
Give me eyes to see the way you see.
Help me to see the value in each of your children.
Help me to see through eyes of love and hope.
Help me to learn how to offer prayers of blessing
that flow naturally from my heart and mind.
And help me to listen to your words of blessing over me.
Precious, valuable, important, loved.
I know that as I take in these blessings,
I will grow in my capacity to pray blessings on others.
Ask God to bring someone to mind that you might bless in some way.
Ask God to show you if your words or actions have been hurtful rather than helpful to this person.
Ask God for the eyes to see this person through eyes of love and hope.
Ask God for words or actions of blessing that might be appropriate for this person.
When you can, share these words or deeds of blessing with this person.