Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
People know prayer changes things. Even so, there are some effective guidelines for praying as well as knowing when to pray and when to pronounce a blessing. Unfortunately, some people default to praying only for blessings when there is a more effective way of getting God's attention and favor.
- "God bless the homeless."
- "God bless the sick."
- "God bless my son who is on drugs."
- "God bless . . . " "God bless. . ." "God bless...
Have you noticed that the keyword "bless" is in each one of those prayers? People overuse that word and use it throughout their prayers. They think the request to bless someone makes their prayer more authentic. Here is why those prayers are ineffective and people, especially intercessors, should change their method of praying.
1. People Are Already Blessed
First of all, God's people are already blessed with every spiritual blessing, according to Ephesians 1:3. Also, the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-12 let us know that God's people are already blessed in every area of their earthly lives. The problem lies in the fact that they don't realize that they are already blessed. Therefore, they insist on praying, "God bless me."
Instead of praying that someone becomes blessed, learn what blessings apply to a particular situation, and pronounce that blessing instead of praying for it. God has already given us every blessing we could ever need
There is a difference between praying for something to happen and pronouncing something to happen. When you pronounce something, you make a firm declaration and solemnly believe it will happen. More faith is displayed when you pronounce something. A pronouncement of a blessing is a statement that it will happen rather than requesting it to happen. Usually, a pronouncement starts with the word "May."
- May God enable you to pass your history test.
- May God provide for me to have safe travels on my vacation.
- May your graduation day be all you would have it to be.
The examples above show you are not praying, requesting, or begging God for a blessing. You are merely calling forth things that you want for someone and yourself in the form of a pronouncement.
A benediction at the end of a church service is a great example of a pronouncement instead of a prayer request.
"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).
Notice the word "may" is used three times in that familiar benediction to show that it is a strong pronouncement on the people as they leave the service.
2. Don't Bless People in Their Negative Condition
Secondly, you should not pray that God will bless people when they are in a negative condition. It is not biblical or wise to do so. If a person is sick and you say, "God bless this sick person" you are blessing him while he is still sick and in an unhealthy situation.
Most churches have a sick and shut-in list in their bulletin every week. When the congregation prays for them to be blessed, they might be blessed, but they will still be sick.
If you say, "God bless this homeless person" you are blessing the person while he is still homeless. After your prayer, he will just be a blessed homeless person.
It is best to bless people after you have moved them over and up from their undesired situation. Then a pronouncement is the next best thing.
Follow the Examples of Jesus
Jesus never prayed for a blessing or pronounced a blessing on a person while he or she was sick, blind, deaf, or in an undesired situation. Every single time Jesus pronounced a blessing on someone, it was after He had healed them. Jesus always healed the sick, gave blind men sight, cured the brokenhearted, cast out demons, or raised the dead before He pronounced an already established blessing on them.
In each of the following situations, Jesus pronounced blessings on people only after He had taken care of their other needs.
- He pronounced a blessing on the woman with the issue of blood only after He had healed her of her disease (Luke 8:48).
- He pronounced a blessing on the ten lepers right after He healed them (Luke 17:11-19).
- Jesus pronounced a blessing on the man born blind after He had given him his sight (John 9).
- The Son of God pronounced a blessing on the demonic boy after he had been delivered (Mark 9:14-29).
Jesus took care of all the above situations and many more before He pronounced blessings on them and sent them on their way. Jesus' pronouncement of the blessing was secondary in every case where a negative condition had to be reversed.
Those who pray for others and themselves tend to skip the first step and quickly ask God to bless someone no matter what condition they are in. According to Jesus' examples in the Bible, we should be mindful of the following things:
- Don't be so hasty to ask God to bless people in their negative condition.
- Stop being so quick to request a generic blessing on people without knowing and praying for a specific thing.
- Preach good news to the poor, proclaim freedom to the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, and release to the oppressed (Luke 4:18). Then and only then should you pronounce an already established blessing on them.
- Overuse of the Word 'Blessed'
The word "bless" is overused in prayers.
- The Beatitudes: Ways You Are Blessed
The Beatitudes remind us that we are blessed in certain situations of our lives. Jesus taught the multitudes how they were blessed, and he teaches us how we are blessed.
- Benediction: Blessing at End of a Religious Service
People should never leave a religious service before the benediction unless it is an emergency.