Several months ago I read a book titled ” The Family Blessing” by Rolf Garborg the premise of the book was to help parents discover the simple practice of blessing their children and to create a spiritual covering for their family’s future.
The idea of a parent speaking/praying a blessing over a child was a common practice among Jewish families throughout the Bible. Jesus would often take children into his arms and say words of blessings over them.
In the bible a blessing was an intentional act of speaking the power of God’s favor and goodness into someones life.
The importance of this act became very real to me on Saturday November 5th, 2012 – Which was just 10 days prior to my children’s grandfather passing away: He sat many of his grandchildren down and spoke a family blessing to them. It was powerful , emotional and life changing. Hearing his words imparted onto my children as they sat listening to his every word. He spoke of the importance of allowing God to lead their lives, the importance of family relationships and so much more. A blessing from their grandfather that will forever go with them.
My real life experience of hearing the words of a Grandfathers blessing over his family and reading this book inspired me to want to more intentional about speaking blessings to/over my children and continue to discover the importance of passing on blessings to my children.
So, I went searching the web and came across ” The Blessing Challenge ” A site full of resources and information on this very topic.
Here are a few things I found that will give you a little more details on this topic:
So just what is the Blessing anyway?
Every time a “blessing” was given in God’s word – whether it was a parent blessing a child; a grandparent blessing a grandchild; a spouse choosing to bless their life-partner; friends blessing each other; or even Jesus blessing children who were brought to Him – there were 5 things that were a part of that blessing.
The Five Elements of the Blessing
1) Appropriate Meaningful Touch – Whether it was with the laying on of hands, a hug, a pat on the shoulders, or placing a hand on a young child’s head or holding them in your arms, appropriate meaningful touch is a way to say “I love you!” even before a word is spoken. All through scripture, you see “touch” being important in blessing others.
2) Spoken (or Written) Words – Way, way, too many people I’ve counseled over the years have told me, “I know my parents loved me… but I never actually heard the words.” Then sadly, they never got the blessing from their parents. Along with appropriate meaningful touch, the Blessing ALWAYS involved WORDS, either spoken or written…But what kind of words?
3) Attach High Value - The third element of the Blessing involves our “attaching” our spoken (or written) words of “high value” to a loved one’s life – a “tangible” action that helps them know they have great value in your eyes and in God’s eyes well. Often these words highlight a character trait for a God-given bent. For example, you might say or write something like, “You have such a sensitive heart when people around you are hurting. When your little sister falls or hurts herself, you always step forward to get her some help or to help her feel better.” In short, it’s a child hearing that, in your opinion, he or she has traits, skills, abilities, and makes choices that are of high worth and value to you and the Lord.
4) Picturing a Special Future – In Scripture, the Blessing was also a time for a parent (grandparent or loved one) to assure a person of God’s blessing on their future, and their own prayer for that person’s future. In Jeremiah 29:11, God says of His children, “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” When a Blessing was given in Scripture, it helped a child (or loved one) know that God saw positive things in their life and future – and their parents or loved ones did as well. Kids tend to be literalists when it comes to hearing about their future from their parents. (Which is also why negative words, like, “You’re so stupid. Don’t take algebra – that’s for the smart kids!” can be so destructive– in fact we call that a “curse” or subtracting from a child.
Children carry the words we speak over them into their future – positive or negative. So linking a character trait they have today, with a prayer for God to use that trait in the future, are key ways of giving the Blessing to a child. (i.e., “You’re do such a great job of taking things apart to see how things work. I wouldn’t be surprised if God used that ability some day to help solve problems orto help build things that help lots of people.”
5) Genuine Commitment – While the choice to “Bless” was an intentional act that was often linked with a special situation or occasion, (marriage, birth, death, moving away, etc.), the 5 elements of the Blessing are things that we can choose to add to a loved ones life each day! In other words, we can choose to “hug” our child before they head out the door (appropriate meaningful touch), or write them a note to put in their lunch telling them we’re praying for them (spoken message and attaching high value). In short, while the Blessing may have been linked to a specific event in Scripture, like a marriage, or when a grown child was leaving home, or near the end of a parent’s life, it wasn’t just a one-time event. It was a way of saying, “I use this event to bless you – but I choose from now on to live out these words of affirmation, encouragement and love in your life.” In other words, while we’re asking you to “take the Blessing Challenge” by creating a special, intentional, purposeful event for your child, genuine commitment is looking for ways to live out these 5 elements of the blessing with your child.
**This list was taken from a FREE pdf printable provided on ” The Blessing Challenge” website. It is suggested that you can go deeper by going to scripture yourself and reading about the Blessing ( Genesis 27 – the story of two twins: Jacob who received the Blessing and Esau who misses it and his terrible cry of emotional pain). And at www.TheBlessing.com you’ll find several books
that unpack this concept in much more detail.
Are you ready to begin praying blessings over your family?