Blessing Your Children…

handsOne of the most tender moments recorded in the life of Jesus is when the disciples were apparently forbidding little children from coming near Jesus.

Matthew 19:13-15 (NLT)
Some children were brought to Jesus so He could lay His hands on them and pray for them. The disciples told them not to bother Him. 14  But Jesus said, “Let the children come to Me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” 15  And He put His hands on their heads and blessed them before He left.

We see the concept of blessing spread through the pages of the Bible.  The spoken or pronounced blessing over people is a form of prayer.  Instead of asking God to do something on someone’s behalf, we are given the privilege of affirming what we perceive that God already is or intends to do in or for them.  So a blessing may be as simple as saying “God’s grace and peace be upon you” as the Apostle Paul frequently said in the opening or closing of his letters to churches or individuals.  How do we know that this blessing applies to others?  Because it is a part of God’s promise to all people.

In the culture of ancient Israel, parents would perceive God’s unique gifts and work in their children and typically as the child entered adulthood they would pronounce the blessings that the Holy Spirit had allowed them to “see” over them.  That insight contributed even to the meanings in the names that they gave to their children.  The blessing often included the division of an inheritance if the blessing was given near the end of the parent’s life.

As contemporary believers we have taken the example of Jesus blessing the children as cited above in conjunction with other recorded blessings even for infants and recognized the value of parents blessing their children especially around significant points in the life of the child.  Both John the Baptist and Jesus received blessings that were prophetically inspired and spoken or prayed over them as infants.  A significant part of our practice of child dedication involves prayed and spoken blessings over the children.

What this guide is intended to do is encourage both your thinking and practice of writing, recording and speaking blessing over your own children.

Writing a blessing
It is amazing how soon the personality of a child begins to emerge from the squirms and squeals of infancy.  I believe that believing parents are given Holy Spirit provided insight into the kinds of things that God intends to bring out of these little ones as they mature and grow.  I would encourage you to pay attention to these insights and combine them with general promises from Scripture that you believe to have particular meaning to your child, and then write them down.  This written blessing can then be used at a dedication ceremony or other occasions like birthdays or graduations.  Writing them down can also serve as an important reminder to parents of God’s intention toward their children when they are moving through times of rebellion or making poor choices.

It doesn’t have to be 12 pages long; just a few sentences are fine.   In fact the shorter it is the more focused you have to be on the important essentials of what you perceive for them and the easier it will be for you to remember sections of it without having to find and read it.

The end of this guide provides some scriptural suggestions, a sample blessing and a couple of websites that may help you in this process.  For now I’d like to touch on the two other components to blessing that I referred to earlier:  Recording and Speaking.

Recording
At one particularly impactful time in our lives as parents we had a visiting speaker to our church who had a very strong and unique prophetic gift.  As he prayed and prophesied over a number of other leaders he came to Pamela and me and immediately asked about our children.  He described in Scripture and specific images our three children and the kinds of things God had in mind for them.  We recorded those words at that time and they became very important to us in the way that we thought about our children and the way that we blessed them.

My recommendation would be to pay attention to the way that spiritually minded people talk about your children, things they point out that they see in them and specific ways that they pray for them.  Record these things and revisit them in your own praying life and find opportunities to talk with your children and point at those things that have been recognized and spoken over them by others.

Speaking
Blessings or recorded words are only nice thoughts if they never make it from your journal or a folded page in your Bible and onto your lips.  You voice in the life of your child is significant for hearing instruction, wisdom, guidance and correction.  However, your voice in speaking blessing over is immeasurably important in its contribution to the way that their Heavenly Father sees them and the spiritual frame through which they see themselves and their world.  We have used significant birthdays celebrating a Christianized Bar-Mitzvah for our son when he turned 13 and Bat-Mitzvahs for our two girls when they turned 12.  There in front of their friends and family we prayed blessings and reminded them of the promises of God that overshadowed their lives.  These moments were not only significant for them, they were very impacting on their 12 and 13 year old friends, inspiring other families to do for their children what we were seeking to do for ours.

Find occasions of celebration and moments of decision in the life of your child to bless them and remind them of God’s provisions and promises.  The spiritual returns for this kind of investment are beyond measurement.

 

Here are a few Bible verses that you may want to consider using in writing this blessing:

  • Romans 15:13 – “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” OR – God of Hope, may You fill my son/daughter, __________, with all joy and peace as he/she trusts in You, so that he/she may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Ephesians 1:16-19 – “I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that…the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe…”
  • Ephesians 3:14-19 – “I kneel before the Father…I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
  • Philippians 1:3-6 – “I thank God every time I remember you. In all my prayers…I always pray with joy…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
  • Philippians 1:9-10 – “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.”
  • Colossians 4:2, 5-6 – “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful… Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 – “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 – “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 – “We constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:5, 16 – “May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance…Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.”
  • 2 Timothy 2:1 – “You then, my son (daughter), be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
  • Philemon 6 – “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.”
  • Hebrews 13:20-21 – “May the God of peace…equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
  • 1 Peter 5:10

Here is a sample of a blessing for you to get an idea on how to approach writing one for your child:

(Example Blessing)

Father, I receive, welcome and acknowledge each of my children as a delightful blessing from You.  I speak your blessings upon them and over them.
Children, I bless you in the name of Jesus, proclaiming the blessings of God, my Redeemer, upon you. May He give you wisdom, a reverential fear of God, and a heart of love.  May He create in you the desire to attend to His words; a willing and obedient heart that you may consent and submit to His ways. May your eyes look straight ahead with purpose for the future. May your tongue be as the pen of a ready writer, writing mercy and kindness upon the tablets of your heart. May you speak the truth in love.  May your hands do the works of the Father, may your feet walk the paths which He has foreordained for you.

These websites are also really helpful in this process:

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/spiritual-growth-for-kids/blessing-your-child/blessing-your-child

http://www.thrivingfamily.com/Features/Magazine/2011/blessing-your-children.aspx

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