Praying a ‘Good Word’ Over Others (1)

Praying a ‘Good Word’ Over Others (1)

Have you ever wondered how to bless others meaningfully, to pray God’s best for them, whether for a child, a parent, a spouse, a friend, or even a total stranger? When words or insight seem to fail you, try praying these blessings (‘good words’) over the other person. It’s all scripture, so it’s rich, deep, and can’t go wrong. (This is the first in a series of blessings).

“May the Lord bless you and keep you; may He make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; may He turn His face towards you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26).

  1. “May the Lord bless you and keep you.” This petition is for physical blessing and protection. The blessing applies to material needs, to grant prosperity, provision and success, with the understanding that one will be kept from the corruption of wealth. There are 8 Hebrew words for “prosper” and none includes the idea of accumulation of goods and money.
  2. “May He make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.” For a face to shine upon someone is to show affection, favor and friendship. It is to show you a smiling face, the opposite of hiding His face out of displeasure or anger. One’s face “lights up” when one sees a friend. Also, this blessing asks for the Lord to leave a visible trace of His Being on the face you show to others. To ask the Lord to be gracious is to ask that He extend mercy, have compassion, to see the best in someone and seek the best for that person.
  3. “May He turn His face towards you and give you peace.” This blessing asks that the Lord look upon you with approval, that He turns towards you, with favor and fondness, making eye contact, so to speak, affirming one’s worth and dignity in personal relationship. This petition asks for a constant awareness of the Lord’s presence, the presence of the goodness of God. The seal of this entire blessing culminates in peace, granting freedom from strife, disorder and disquiet, bringing harmony, wholeness and abundant well-being. Bringing His shalom. That the person being blessed would flourish.

A Final Note: Immediately following the final blessing of peace, the Lord says to Aaron, “So they shall put my Name on the Israelites, and I myself will bless them.” (Numbers 6:27). Aaron and his priestly descendants were to pronounce the blessings, verbatim, over the children of Israel, but the Lord emphasizes that He alone is the source of the blessing. When one prays the priestly blessings over others, the pray-er is a channel used by the Lord, who ultimately is the one doing the blessing.

(with thanks to Hebrew scholars Dr. Dwight Pryor, Rabbi Jonathon Sacks, and Ms. Keren Pryor)