The words of a loved one have a lot of weight and power. I’m sure you’ve had a loved one say something to you that hurt. Whether intentionally or intentionally, those words have stuck with you.
But also, the words of a loved one can bring healing and purpose and encouragement to us. They can make us stand a little taller, feel like we can climb any mountain.
In Genesis 2, God breathed life into Adam, and we can breathe life and encouragement into the hearts of our loved ones. Doubts and insecurities can creep into our minds and hearts, and a person in authority speaking God’s truths to us can do wonders for our hearts, minds, and spirits. The heart is what God cares about above all else, and the heart is where the Spirit of God speaks.
We can offer compliments and praise, which can go to the minds and egos of the listener. But a blessing is a truth spoken to the heart and the Spirit of another person, based on the very word of God.
We can pray blessings over someone for sure, but right now we're talking about speaking a blessing. Our heart and mind may be praying that Scriptural blessing over our loved ones, but what they experience is not you praying over them and speaking to God, but you speaking directly to their heart and Spirit with the very word of God. We are claiming a Scriptural promise or truth over the lives of our loved one, in hopes they can claim it for themselves too.
The first time I remember blessings being spoken over someone was when I was in college and attending an event for the middle school girls at our church. I was helping with the youth group from time to time, and each of us youth group volunteers were told to think of a blessing to speak over the girls during the event. I researched what blessings even were, and prayed about what blessing I should give, and decided on a simple, “May you remember that you are God’s beloved daughter, that He delights in you and rejoices over you with singing,” inspired by Zephaniah 3:16. During the event, each of those girls had tears in their eyes as they listened to and received blessings from their leaders. A few even began weeping as they soaked in these much needed truths. I don't know about you, but I would have loved to have such blessings spoken over me when I was an insecure middle schooler.
Throughout the book of Genesis, we see blessings spoken over the children and grandchildren of our Bible heroes. In Genesis 27, Jacob and Esau both desire and seek Isaac’s blessing (though I personally don’t recommend their plan for obtaining that blessing). In Genesis 48 and 49, Jacob bestows blessings upon each of his sons and several of his grandsons. In Hebrews 11:20-21, Isaac and Jacob are listed among our Old Testament heroes of faith for their act of blessing their children.
Every heart longs to receive a blessing, as demonstrated by Esau’s grief at Jacob stealing his blessing and Esau begging Isaac to give him a blessing, too (Genesis 27:34-38).
Biblical blessings were spoken by those in authority–usually parents speaking a blessing over their children, or priests who spoke a blessing over the Israelites:
“The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26
My pastor, at the end of every church service, would speak this blessing over us. I would close my eyes and turn my hands upward and soak in and claim every word of the blessing for me and my family. This blessing is also the foundation of Kari Jobe’s song The Blessing, reminding us of the power of speaking (or singing!) the promises of God over our loved ones. I have heard so many incredible testimonies after men and women have spoken or sung this blessing over (and sometimes with) their family.
In Mark 10, parents brought their children to Jesus to be blessed. The disciples weren’t happy about it, more than likely because they thought Jesus had more important things to do, or that the children were bothering Him. But Jesus “took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them” (Mark 10:16).
Jesus also spoke a blessing over His disciples before His ascension home to heaven. I wish it was recorded the very words He spoke over His beloved friends and disciples, but we do know that it was “while He was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven,” (Luke 24:51).
We bless someone after they sneeze and we talk about our blessings and feeling ‘hashtag blessed’, as if blessings come and go or are earned. But the truth is, we are always blessed by God, as we are reminded of our plethora of spiritual blessings throughout the book of Ephesians, and numerous other places in Scripture. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).
God’s blessings are gracious and generous. As it says in 1 Corinthians 1:5, “For in him (Jesus) you have been enriched in every way.” It is always good to be reminded of the fact that we are richly blessed, and to remind our loved ones of that as well.
We pray a blessing over a meal, over a couple exchanging vows at their wedding, over a baby at their baptism or dedication. But blessings can be bestowed upon anyone, anytime the Spirit prompts you to speak one. You can bless your spouse when they’re feeling discouraged or before they go to work. You can bless your children before they go to school or as they enter a new stage of life. It doesn’t need to be huge and grand and fancy, only Spirit-led and rooted in the Word and promises of God.
He has blessed us and He wants us to operate in that identity as one who is blessed. Speaking a Scripture-based blessing over your loved ones allows both you and your loved one’s heart to become aligned with God’s heart for them. You have the power to speak that life and truth into their heart and mind and spirit so they can claim God’s promises as their own. Speaking these words aloud have the power to break whatever strategies Satan is trying to use against them, and realign our loved ones with God’s will and promises and plan for them.
A lot of the blessings you could speak over your family come from ones that Paul prayed over the churches and the church leaders he loved. Some of my favorite blessings can be found in:
Colossians 1:9-13 Ephesians 1:15-20 Ephesians 3:16-19 Philippians 1:9-11
I also highly recommend you speak Numbers 6:24-26. It is not only an incredible blessing to speak over others, but it was a blessing from God Himself given to Moses, Aaron, and his sons to bless the Israelites. Claim that blessing, the very words of God, for yourself and your loved ones as well!
You can also use Bible verses as a personalized blessing. Some of my favorites are, “May you have God’s peace in your heart today, which exceeds anything we can understand,” (from Philippians 4:6-7) or “May you be strong and courageous today for the Lord is with you wherever you go,” (from Joshua 1:9).
When my younger son was having night terrors and trouble sleeping, I started speaking "May you lie down and sleep in peace, for God is with you," (from Psalm 4:8) as I tucked him into bed. Not only did those truths comfort his anxious heart, but I was claiming the Word of God over my son, blessing him with peaceful sleep as promised in God's Word. Within two nights of me speaking and claiming this Scripture over him, the night terrors stopped and he was sleeping through the night.
There’s no set formula for how to speak a blessing, but I do recommend you pray first, asking God for wisdom as to which Scriptural promises you should use to bless your loved ones.
You can lay your hands on them if you wish, though it’s not required. I personally prefer to bless my children or my husband while giving them a hug, or putting my hands on their shoulders and I look into their eyes, the windows to their soul, and speak the blessing aloud. Sometimes I say a blessing while tucking my kids into bed after saying bedtime prayers. Other times, I give my kids a hug and say a quick blessing over them before they head off to the school bus.
No matter how you choose to do it, it’s a beautiful time to connect with your loved ones, giving them the gift of your time, physical touch, eye contact, and speaking life-giving Biblical words of affirmation into the hearts of your loved ones. It takes less than a minute, and the rewards are eternal!
Do you speak blessings over your loved ones? Share with us your experiences, tips, or favorite blessings to say or receive, we'd love to read them!