Prayer and Blessings

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  ~1 John 5:14 NIV

Did you give anything up for Lent this year?  I did not.  Instead, I felt led to focus on becoming more intentional and disciplined about one area of my spiritual life—prayer.  During this season of preparation for Easter, I will strive to spend more time praying for others by choosing a different person to pray for everyday.  I will be exploring different prayer techniques, such as coloring while I pray, using prayer beads, and praying the Scriptures, to help me stay focused during my prayers.  I will be reading books by others who have already worked hard to find a form of prayer that works best for them.  And I will be bolder when I pray. 

In her book “Praying with Mandalas”, Sharon Seyfarth Garner states, “I define prayer as ‘being with God’ on purpose.’  Prayer is the way we intentionally open the eyes of our hearts to God.”  I love that definition.  When we pray, we are choosing to spend time with God on purpose.  We are stepping outside of our busy schedules and making time to be with our Heavenly Father.  We our opening up our hearts so that they can be filled with His Spirit.  And hopefully we are laying down our worries and fears at God’s feet and leaving them there for Him to handle.

I recently bought a new book titled, “Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me: Celtic Blessings” by Beth A. Richardson.  In this book, I’m learning about an ancient prayer form that has it’s roots in Celtic Christianity—prayers called blessings.  Beth states that “Celtic Christians acknowledge God’s presence in every aspect of living—from waking to sleeping, from birth to death, from mundane chores to momentous celebrations.”  They have blessings, or prayers, for just about everything.  Beth even wrote a blessing for her coffee, and a blessing for washing the dishes.

This type of prayer intrigues and excites me.  How wonderful it must be to see and celebrate God in every part of your day—in everything you do, everything you see, everyone your meet, etc.  How wonderful it must be to know that God is with you always, and then to be able to celebrate His presence, even when life is hard.  I want that kind of prayer life.  I want to live a life that praises God in all things.  I want to pray blessings throughout my day—over the ordinary things, as well as the special moments.  I want to pray blessings over my friends and family; over the people I work with; and over the strangers I encounter everyday. 

Prayers of blessing can also be found in the Bible.  In the Old Testament, leaders prayed blessings over the people they led, and father’s prayed blessings for their oldest sons.  Paul often added a prayer of blessing to the end of the letters he wrote to the early churches. 

Now I’d like to close this blog post with a couple of blessings for you.

‘May the Lord bless you and protect you.

May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.

May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.’  ~Numbers 6:24-26

May your heart be filled with joy.

May your eyes see abounding wonder.

May your ears hear words of kindness.

May your mouth speak words of love.

May your hands reach out to others.

May your feet follow the Shepherd’s leading.

And may all of your being feel the warmth of the Father’s love.

~Terri Hester, February 2020

Be blessed!

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