What is the power of a spoken blessing?
Our words have great influence in the lives of those around us, and spoken blessings can bring hope, encouragement, and direction to our families, friends, and others. Many people are experiencing deepening relationships and spiritual encouragement as they discover the power of spoken blessings.
A spoken blessing is a positive, Biblical statement that invokes the blessing of God in the life of another. The power of spoken blessings comes from God, Who Himself “hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).
A Blessing Is an Instrument of God’s Love
Our words have potential to do good or to do harm. The Bible describes the potential impact of our words in verses such as these:
- “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Proverbs 18:21).
- “Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24).
- “Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad” (Proverbs 12:25).
A spoken blessing does good to those who hear it. In the New Testament, the English word bless is a translation of the Greek word eulogeo. According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, eulogeo means “to speak well of, i.e. (religiously) to bless (thank or invoke a benediction upon, prosper).” When you bless others, you direct God’s goodness to them; you intercede for them—“stand in the gap” for them as you come boldly to the throne of grace in faith. (See Ezekiel 22:30 and Hebrews 4:16.)
Use a Biblical Framework for Blessings
The priestly blessing recorded in Numbers 6:24–26 provides us with an excellent example of a Godly blessing: “The Lord bless thee, and keep [guard, protect, compass about with a hedge of safety] thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance [give full attention in a favorable way] upon thee, and give thee peace [wholeness, health, security, serenity, well-being, contentment, harmony; an absence of negative stress, disturbance, tension, and conflict].” You can use this blessing as a framework for composing blessings.
As you can see, it can be helpful to look up the meanings of key words in verses (included in brackets above). A thorough knowledge of these words will expand your understanding of the message and equip you to apply its truths more effectively.
Discern How to Bless Someone Effectively
It often takes time and effort to search out appropriate blessings. Ask the Lord to make you attentive to His Spirit as you read Scripture, discerning which words, phrases, and concepts He wants you to share with someone. As you learn what God wants to accomplish in and through His children—through the Scriptures and as the Holy Spirit instructs you (see John 16:13)—begin to affirm God’s will by declaring Biblical goals in your spoken blessings.
When the Lord puts a desire in your heart to bless someone in particular, be attentive to the needs he may be experiencing. With that person in mind, you can ask the questions below to help you discern the kind of blessing that he needs. Consider using the related Scripture references in the blessing you share.
- Is the fruit of the Spirit evident in his life?
(See Galatians 5:22-25.)
- Is he serving others in love?
(See Galatians 5:13 and Luke 6:27-38.)
- Is he seeking God’s guidance so that he can carry out the good works God has prepared for him to do?
(See James 3:12-13, I Timothy 6:11-19, Titus 3:8, and Hebrews 10:24.)
- Is he submitting to his God-ordained authorities?
(See Hebrews 13:17, James 4:7, Colossians 3:18, and I Peter 2:13-14.)
- Does it appear that something may be competing with his devotion to God?
(See Matthew 6:33.)
- Are there particular temptations that seem to present big challenges in his life?
(See Matthew 6:13, I Corinthians 10:13, Matthew 26:41, I Timothy 6:9-12, and Luke 8:4-18.)
- Are you aware of any fears, hurts, or pressures that he is facing?
(See Galatians 6:1-3, James 5:16, Romans 12:1-15, and Ephesians 4:32.)
As you consider these questions, God can reveal to you areas of need in someone’s life. Then, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to specific verses or passages of Scripture that can be used as a blessing related to those needs.
Personalize a Blessing to Meet Current Needs
Imagine that you know a person who struggles with fear and anxiety. You could use a concordance, when necessary, to look for verses that refer to “fear” and “anxiety” and “peace” and “comfort.” As you searched, you would discover verses such as II Timothy 1:7, which says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind [discipline, self-control].” You also may discover that I John 4:18 and Philippians 4:6-9 contain words of wisdom and comfort, especially for someone who is fearful or anxious.
Apply the basic truths recorded in those verses to the model blessing found in Numbers 6:24-26 to create a blessing like this one:
May the Lord God bless you and keep you from the torments of fear and anxiety. May He cause His face to shine upon you with His power and love, and may He give you a sound mind. Through His perfect love, may God give you grace to cast out fear. May He lift up His countenance upon you with freedom as you tell Him every detail of your need in earnest, thankful prayer, and may He give you His peace that surpasses all understanding as He keeps your heart and mind safe through Jesus Christ.
In II Corinthians 1:3, the Apostle Paul declared, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and God of all comfort.” These words might be used to bless someone who is enduring deep sorrow, as follows:
May God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God of all comfort, encourage your heart and protect you from despair. May He cause His face to shine upon you as you rejoice in the midst of troubles and trials, putting your faith in Him and being confident of His lovingkindness toward you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you with the riches of His joy and pleasure, and may He give you His peace in your heart and soul.
The Apostle Peter includes this blessing in his first letter: “[May] the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect [complete], establish [turn resolutely in a certain direction], strengthen [confirm in spiritual knowledge and power], settle [consolidate, make solid or secure] you” (I Peter 5:10).
You could use this verse and the definitions of its key words as a basis of a blessing for someone who is enduring a trial:
May the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, bless you and keep you strong during this time of testing. May He cause His face to shine upon you and give you grace to endure with patience. May He lift up His countenance upon you to make you perfect and complete in Him, to establish you clearly in the direction He gives you, to strengthen you through spiritual knowledge and by the power of His Holy Spirit as you seek Him with all your heart. May the Lord settle you, making you secure and confident in His love and provision for your peace and well-being.
As you speak these words in prayer or speak them directly to the person for whom they are written, you will invoke the power, grace, and blessing of God upon him. You also could write out the blessing and mail it or take it to the person for whom you are interceding; God could use it as a great source of encouragement in his life.
Become Familiar With Many Scriptural Blessings
The following New Testament passages are particularly suitable for use in spoken blessings:
- Romans 15:5-6, 13
- I Corinthians 1:4-9, 16:23
- II Corinthians 1:3-7, 2:14, 13:7-9
- Ephesians 1:3-23, 3:14-21, 6:18-20, 23-24
- Philippians 1:3-6, 9-11; 4:6-8, 23
- Colossians 1:3-6, 9-14; 4:2-6
- I Thessalonians 1:2-3, 3:12-13, 5:23-24, 28
- II Thessalonians 1:11-12, 2:16-17, 3:5, 16
- II Timothy 4:22
- Philemon 1:4-7
- Hebrews 13:20-21
- I Peter 1:3-9, 5:10-11
- II Peter 1:2-4, 3:18
- II John 1:3
- III John 1:2-3
Trust the Lord to Guide You
As you make yourself available to intercede for others with spoken blessings, the Lord will open your spiritual eyes and ears to comprehend what He wants to accomplish in their lives. Offer God’s own blessing to them, from His Word. Put your confidence in God, Who will carry out those blessings according to His will.
When Jesus was instructing the disciples to minister to others in the power of the Holy Spirit, He said, “Freely ye have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8). Interceding for others with spoken blessings is one way you can freely give to others in Christ’s name.
This article is adapted from a book by Bill Gothard, The Power of Spoken Blessings.