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Monday, January 04, 2010


People sneeze in our presence. We say, "God bless you." It's customary and expected. Generally we don't mean much by it or if we do, it's just a way of saying, "I care for you and hope you are OK."

Sometimes we say "God bless you." as a cordial way of saying good-bye when we are getting off the phone or are departing from someone. "God bless" or "Blessings" is the closure of an email or ending paragraph of a letter. We use the phrase as a polite ending to a communication.

But for many of us, I don't think we really expect anything of substance to happen because we said those words. It's just a way of communicating well wishes or deep affection for someone or to let them know they we have positive thoughts about them.

What if when we said those words, we spoke them to God and not the person we are directing them at, beseeching the Almighty to rain down a torrent of goodness, affection and active intervention to that person? What if there was power in the blessing that when we spoke it, there unleashed the power of the Holy Spirit in some tangible way? I read this quote and it has me thinking,
"There is great power in blessing in general. I believe that there is a Holy Spirit anointing released when blessings are spoken or pronounced over a person. Those blessings have a tangible effect on the person, because you are inviting the Holy Spirit to touch them in a positive way. Blessing seems to break the yoke of enemy oppression. In fact, some sicknesses are caused by curses, and general blessing prayers sometimes seem to counteract curses that have been spoken over someone. ... When in doubt of how to pray, speak a blessing over the person. You will never go wrong that way." (source)
When I read in the Old Testament about blessings and how they were spoken and used, it seems to be they actually believed in something greater than well wishes when they pronounced a blessing. In some cases it seems more like a decree or declaration. In the New Testament we see several examples where we are to give a blessing or that a blessing is something that can be obtained.

When I served in the Episcopal church I loved to watch Fr. Turner pronounce a blessing over the congregation, at the communion rail upon a child, at the table over the communion elements, or upon the Eucharistic ministers and elsewhere. I'm not sure I can really identify why, but there was something in the way that he did it that he expected God's empowerment or anointing or comfort or His riches, generosity and kindness to come upon the person or thing that was blessed. He expected something tangible to happen because he did it.

Try it this week. Be intentional. Call down God's blessings upon people and property. Stand with the confidence that all heaven is behind you and something great will happen when you bless.

God bless you.

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