Virtually every Christian desires to be a blessing. The problem comes when we don’t quite know how. Even the way we talk about “blessing” has become nebulous. Blessing others can be understood to entail just about any good deed. Yet we’re easily perplexed, never quite sure if we’ve accomplished it or how to go about it. But I think being a blessing can be both simpler and more significant than we realize. And it can happen through prayer. Not the thoughtless and private petition, “God bless so-and-so.” What we need is to rediscover the subjunctive mood of prayer.
In my previous country of residence, the Central Asian Christians I knew were constantly doing this—blessing others in ways I wasn’t, peppering every conversation with short and simple expressions of desire. “May God’s peace be upon you.” “May God grant you healing.” “May God’s name be praised.” They had a way—a whole culture—of blessing people that I found incredibly refreshing and expressly biblical. It seemed that for every circumstance and setting my friends had an appropriate invocation, a verbalized expression of reliance on God.
More than a Promise
“I will pray for you” is perhaps the most common phrase spoken among American believers. It also may be the most hollow. Even if it can give soft encouragement, the words are often the shell of an unfulfilled promise. In reality, they say little. In the midst of hurt and suffering, our culture generally makes an effort not to say too much. And we end up saying virtually nothing at all.
"I will pray for you" is perhaps the most common phrase spoken among American believers. It also may be the most hollow.
But there’s a way of speaking to others that actually blesses them. It’s incredibly simple and, potentially, deeply meaningful. I’m almost ashamed to say so, but I wasn’t awakened to it until I lived in another country, despite the fact that such prayers permeate the Scriptures.