Perhaps the most central blessing God bestows on families, households and nations is love, peace and joy—increased harmony and reduced tension.
As I distilled the information below, I was stirred to start daily proclaiming God’s blessing privately over myself and my household. The increased harmony and reduced tension in our home that coincided with this new practice has given me a new perspective on the nature of the blessing God promises to bestow on “all the families of the earth.”
More recently we have replaced our simple “grace” before family meals with a “circle of blessing” where we take turns looking the person next to us in the eye and speak a simple blessing over them: “_______, I bless you in Jesus’ name with (joy, peace, etc.)” (continuing however the Spirit leads). Our son with Down Syndrome loves and initiates this.
Here is an outline of the blessing I adapted and began praying daily over myself, each member of my household, and others God brings to mind:
I bless you in the name of Jesus—for the light of God to flood every place in your life that has been touched by the kingdom of darkness.
I bless you in the name of Jesus—to know the depths of Father God’s love and provision for you.
I bless you in the name of Jesus—to experience Jesus’ presence and healing power throughout your spirit, soul and body.
I bless you in the name of Jesus—to hear and receive the Holy Spirit’s anointing for you, along with everything He is saying to you.
This simple practice of daily aligning my heart with God’s is also emboldening me to spontaneously offer to bless individuals as I am interacting with them.
Breakthrough in a Long-Broken Relationship
As I was studying blessing I also felt stirred to proclaim daily blessing over a brother who had been estranged from me for 30 years. Despite my prayers, efforts to restore the relationship, and private forgiveness of him (and myself), the relationship had gotten worse and for the last 15 years this brother appeared unwilling to meet with me or even talk with me.
Then just three days after I began privately blessing this brother, my wife and I turned a corner in a store and there he was!
Having aligned my heart with God’s toward this brother, my immediate response was to extend my arms to offer a hug, which he accepted warmly. We then chatted briefly and I asked if he would like to get together sometime. He said he would love to!
I asked how often he came to town, and he said, “I rarely leave my house (45 minutes away). I just came today to help a friend” (who was nowhere in sight). Only God could arrange something like this!
I offered this brother another hug before we parted, and he embraced me warmly again.
The whole experience reminded me of Esau receiving Jacob warmly after their prolonged estrangement. Jacob declared then to Esau, “For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably” (Gen 33:10).
Since this “chance” meeting, this brother and I have met weekly to walk and talk together about God. Our understandings of God are very different, yet we are enjoying the interaction as we both seek a fuller understanding of the Truth. After one time together this brother texted me: “Any time you want to get together there is nothing more important than you bringing truth to me or me bringing truth to you.”
Isn’t God good?
Is there any richer blessing than restored and strengthened family harmony?
Perhaps there is one greater blessing—the intimate fellowship with God that increases as we align our spirits with His desire to forgive and bless everyone—regardless of what they have done to us or to others!
My first encounter with this emphasis on blessing
In Uganda (in early 2020) my traveling companion and new friend introduced me to this biblical practice of extending blessing—exercising our authority in Jesus to verbally bless others. What I saw inspired me deeply, and I asked how I could learn more.
My friend recommended Roy Godwin’s two books, which I immediately purchased:
- The Grace Outpouring: Becoming a People of Blessing
- Way of Blessing: Stepping into the Mission and Presence of God
A few days later I read The Grace Outpouring aloud to my family on a road trip, then read the other book and watched videos of Roy on YouTube. I found most helpful the latter half of this teaching at a YWAM base on extending God’s blessing and the three recorded sessions from a training in Northampton, England (starting here).
The article below is distilled from these sources and my own experience. The opening emphasis on the global significance is my own, followed by a distillation of Roy’s teaching.
God’s Blessing for All Earth’s Families
After setting the stage for eleven chapters, in Genesis 12 God renews through Abraham the blessing and commission which God first pronounced in Gen 1:28 for all mankind:
… and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you (Gen 12:3).
Someday this scripture will be fulfilled. Will it be fulfilled in our day?
Are we on the brink of the completion of God’s unchanging purpose (Heb 6:17)?
Throughout Scripture we see God’s eagerness to bless—both directly and through His people. And this blessing flows both vertically and horizontally:
• Vertically—God blesses us. And we respond by blessing Him (Deu 8:10, 1 Chr 29:20, Neh 9:5, Ps 16:7, 26:12, 34:1, 103:1–2,20,22, 104:1, 115:18, 134:2, 135:19–20).
• Horizontally—we have the authority, responsibility and privilege of blessing our own households, and extending His blessing to others (Num 6:22–27, Lev 9:22–23, 2 Sam 6:20, Ps 118:26, Pr 11:11, Rom 12:8,14).
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.
From the house of the LORD we bless you (Ps 118:26).
We extend God’s blessing not only through our actions, but also through words of blessing.
Far too often Christians are only seen judging and condemning.
Yet just as God blesses everyone, so our blessing is to be NOT JUST for fellow believers:
I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous (Mt 5:45–46).
Love must be sincere. … Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. (Rom 12:8,14)
Multiplying God’s Blessing
Throughout Scripture God reveals His eagerness to bless—from Gen 1:22,28 to Rev 22:7,14.
The blessing/commission of Gen 1:28 is repeated in Gen 9:1. Then in Gen 12:1–3 it is expanded to all family-lines. It is then repeated to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Gen 18:18, 22:18, 26:4, 28:14).
Peter refers back to this Gen 12 commission in explaining his first healing (Acts 3:25–26), and Paul identifies this as the “gospel announced in advance to Abraham” (Gal 3:8).
How does God’s desire to bless through us express itself in our unstable world—where earthquakes, famines, wars and new plagues (like COVID-19) are on the rise? What is OUR role in imparting God’s blessing to our households and communities, and to all the family-lines of earth?
In his book The Grace Outpouring: Becoming a People of Blessing, Roy Godwin tells how God led him into a pattern of blessing that is now spreading contagiously around the globe. Following is a condensation of Roy’s story from this book (p. 17):
I was desperate. Despite the miracles by which God had led Daphne and me to become directors of a beautiful Christian retreat center, I feared that taking the position had been a mistake. For the first time in decades, months had passed since I had brought someone to know Jesus.
Within hours of pouring out my anguish to the Lord, a couple felt strangely compelled to drive up our steep driveway and ask what sort of place this retreat center was. I showed them around. As we concluded by entering the chapel, they “sat down speedily, rather heavily, as though their legs had gone a little weak.”
Under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, I renewed an ancient Scriptural tradition by making up a new rule for visitors: “We have a rule that we bless our visitors before they leave. May I bless you?”
They had no objection, so I simply said, “I bless you in the name of Jesus to know God, His purpose for your life, and His blessings on you and your family and the situations of your life. Amen.”
They started to weep and I quietly let myself out of the chapel so my presence wouldn’t embarrass them. It was time to let God do what He wanted to do for this couple.
As Roy and his team continued this “new” tradition of blessing visitors in His name, God responded by sending many more visitors, transforming their lives and confirming His presence with many wonderful miracles of physical and emotional healing.
Our God-given authority, responsibility and privilege of blessing has been largely forgotten in much of the global Church. Yet this biblical practice of extending God’s blessing through our words is coming back into focus. God’s people are learning how to bless again.
As the “grace outpouring” has spread, this understanding and practice of blessing in the name of Jesus is becoming a global movement. It caught up with me (Robby) in late January of 2020 through a friend who joined me in Uganda and modeled blessing others there.
Since that trip I have read through The Grace Outpouring with my family, begun to practice blessing others in Jesus name, and seen a badly broken relationship restored. In what follows I have sought to distill Roy’s insight into something you can quickly grasp and apply. This is condensed mostly from a teaching Roy gave, with a few thoughts of my own added.
Hear Roy’s original presentation at youtu.be/leQ-rt_YNWo (starting about 20 minutes in).
I bless you in Jesus’ name
In The Grace Outpouring I (Roy) introduced the ministry of blessing. I had no idea of all that this practice of blessing would do in churches and in lives in many nations.
When we think of blessing we often think of doing things that bless. And as followers of Jesus we are indeed to bless with our deeds. Yet what God brought out in our experience is the ministry of blessing with words. And that is what I want to teach on here.
God has woven blessing throughout the Bible. From the founding of Israel it was common for Israelites to speak words of blessing. They blessed the Lord just as He blessed them. They invoked His blessing on others—“the Lord bless you” and joined Him in extending blessing—”we bless you in the name of the Lord.”
The priesthood was set aside to bless, a ceremonial layer was on top of the practice of blessing by everyone—not a replacement: Friends blessed friends. Fathers blessed children. Everyone blessed their communities. And they all blessed strangers.
The power of verbal blessing
Psalm 129:8 shows us that a place may be cursed merely by withholding the blessing of God and man:
May those who pass by not say to them, “The blessing of the Lord be on you; we bless you in the name of the Lord.”
How many places today are cursed by simply not having these words consistently spoken over them: “The Lord bless you. We bless you in the name of the Lord.”
Proverbs 11:11 reads: “Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed.” If we read this in isolation it may seem merely having the righteous in a city doing lots of good things brings blessing to the city. And it does. However in context we see that this blessing is all about spoken words. The surrounding verses are about how we use our mouths and what sort of words we speak. What we say really does matter.
God intends for us to speak blessing into communities, and a good starting point is simply to invoke the Lord’s blessing, “The Lord bless you.”
But we don’t stop there. We go on to confirm, “We are in agreement with the Lord’s purpose. We bless you in the name of the Lord. The Lord bless you, community, and we agree. We bless you in the name of the Lord.” This is tremendously important.
We are called to live out the Scriptures, including blessing in Jesus’ Name. It is not enough to merely read what the Scriptures say and understand God’s heart to bless. We must live it out.
In a city in England we taught principles for blessing a community of about 600.
The pastor that hosted us later told me:
Newspapers have written asking, “What is going on in this city? The crime rate has dropped. The educational standards have risen. The prosperity of the city has been transformed.”
What was happening? The believers had united in saying over their city, “The Lord bless you. We bless you in the name of the Lord.”
From judging to blessing
As we focused on blessing rather than judging people we found God working in a different order than we were used to (p. 42):
When God touches people, many of them want to bless others. They’ve caught the heart of what God is doing.
A pattern was emerging for us. All we wanted to do was bless. I don’t want to judge; I don’t want to condemn. I’m not going to approve of sin, but I’m not habitually going to pass judgment on sinners as my first response to them. …
Through our blessing of others, we had begun to find that God had a different timetable from ours. As people received blessings, they were often broken and softened and responsive to God. The spirit of conviction then came and revealed directly to their hearts who they were and how they needed God and how they could respond to Him.
God responds to our blessing
In Numbers we read the blessing assigned to the priests. God told Moses how to teach Aaron to bless the people (Numbers 6:24–26):
The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
Then God said in the following verse (27):
That is how they will put My Name upon the people, and I will bless them.”
Do you see the pattern? We speak blessings upon people and God responds, “Then I will come and bless.” We put God’s name upon people, then God comes and blesses.
The power is in God’s presence
In Leviticus 9:1–22 we read what happened when Aaron blessed the Israelites. They gathered and did all the things they were to do:
… having sacrificed the sin offering, the burnt offering and the fellowship offering, he stepped down (22).
Aaron offered the prescribed sacrifices and blessed the people, yet nothing spectacular happened. Imagine the people standing there, saying, “That was nice. I haven’t heard that before. Has Aaron become a poet? Those were lovely words. What do we do next?”
Then Moses and Aaron went into the Tent of Meeting and came out again. The two of them blessed the people again. This time the glory of God appeared to the people (verse 23). Then fire came down from heaven and consumed the sacrifice, and the people shouted for joy and fell facedown (verse 24).
What made the difference? This contrast between verse 22 and verses 23–24 illustrates the difference between the practice of religion and life in the Spirit. Religion is just speaking the words. Walking in the Spirit is dwelling in God’s presence so that He accompanies us to impart life. The difference was not in the words spoken, but emerging from the Lord’s presence to speak them.
We can speak to people and just say words, and it can be the driest liturgy in the world—beautiful words that carry no life. Yet when the presence of the Lord is with us those same words carry fullness of life and the blessing of God.
If we are to bear fruit in speaking and releasing blessing on our communities, we must first come into God’s presence, seek to dwell in His presence and come out carrying His presence.
How can we know that we carry God’s presence? We don’t know until things begin to happen that make us think, Oh my goodness, God is working! This is what happens when we come near to God, because He is holy.
Recovering the Lord’s presence
There is a strong tendency in ministry to focus more on the work we do for the Lord than on the Lord Himself. When this happens the Lord must withhold His blessing until we again enthrone Him as the center and source of our ministry.
When God called me to direct the retreat center I was overcome by His mercy (p. 85).
A new resolve entered my life. Instead of talking about Him and preaching about Him and evangelizing about Him and being a pastor for Him, I wanted to know God. And now that’s my heart: to know Him and to know Him more. Not to know more about Him, but to know Him more. When the passion of my heart changed from mission to simply knowing Him, the mission activity then began to flow out of the knowing.
Inviting the Lord’s presence where we dwell
One day I confessed to the Lord and our staff that I had lost the early intimacy of my devotion to Him. I then prayed (p. 55):
Lord God, I do not know how to pray. If I knew how to pray, life would be so different. But the truth is, I don’t.
The Lord responded immediately by giving us a way to pray through the grounds of our retreat center. Than night our guests all experienced the Lord’s presence in a new way.
Perhaps what the Lord led us to do will inspire you as you seek the Lord guidance in consecrating your own context:
Pray the name of Jesus into the fabric and air of every room. Call on the blood of Jesus, and press the blood of Jesus into everything in each room.
The difference between blessing and prayer
When we pray for someone we generally close our eyes and turn our attention from that person to God. When we focus on the Lord to ask Him to do good things for a person it is a real prayer, but it isn’t the scriptural pattern of extending blessing. We may use the word blessing and ask God to bless, and this is good. But if this is spoken to God this is not the biblical blessing we are discussing.
Consider this example of prayer disguised as blessing:
Heavenly Father, I thank You that You really do love ________. I ask You now in the Name of Jesus to do really good things for ________. Would you please bless ________ from heaven. Let all Your blessings come upon ________. In Jesus’ mighty name. AMEN!
This is how we bless—eyes open, face to face:
________, I bless you in the name of Jesus. I bless you in the name of Jesus that He may encourage you. I bless you in the name of Jesus that you may be confident that you are unique, and valued in your uniqueness, that the Father loves you, that you have nothing to prove, that you don’t have to fight for anything. I bless you to know that you are known and loved by Him. And I bless you that your heart may rejoice in confidence before Him.
Blessing in practice
1. Enter and linger in God’s Presence
Pray in the quiet of your heart:
Heavenly Father, I thank You that I have the right to come before You because of the new, living way that You have opened for me through Jesus. I thank You that I have access to You. By faith I come into Your presence. I want to breathe in Your holiness. I want to be clothed in Your love. I pause in Your presence. I rest with You for this moment. Father, please clothe me with Your peace. Thank You, Father. AMEN!
2. Bless your local community
Having entered the Lord’s presence, continue with a prayer like this:
Father, we are going to bless this area in the name of Jesus.
Would You bless this community as we bless it.
Then say loudly—there is nothing secretive about blessing:
________, the Lord bless you.
We bless you in the name of the Lord. Amen!
Speak this to your community—the land, the people, the children.
3. Bless individuals
Begin with silent prayer:
Father, I am about to bless in the name of Jesus, not my name. Come and bless this person as I bless, as You promised.
Then bless as the Holy Spirit leads, along these lines:
________, the Lord bless you. I bless you in the name of Jesus. I bless you that the favor of God may rest upon you. I bless you that you may have a clarity of focus as you follow Him. I bless you in Jesus’ Name that things may fall away from you and set you free, and lead you in a straight path in God’s purpose for you. I bless you in the name of Jesus that you may know that you are never alone—never alone because He is always with you and will never leave you. AMEN!
This is not just more religious words. This is the ministry of life.
You may start blessing others like you start anything—with a simple, reproducible pattern.
As you persist, this will move from a habit to become a way of life. Then you will experience the Holy Spirit directing you in how to bless the person in front of you.
4. Practice with others
When you unite with a group in blessing your community, stand and turn to face various directions.
When training a group to bless individuals, gather into threes:
- One to bless another, expanding on the basic blessing:
The Lord bless you. I bless you in the name of the Lord.”
- The second to receive this blessing.
- The third to raise an alert if the person speaking shifts from a blessing to a prayer.
Then rotate roles until everyone has blessed and been blessed.
May God bless you. We also bless you in the name of the Lord—that you may know His ways and His salvation—and that His ways and His salvation may come to all the family-lines of earth (Ps 67).
5. Making it Practical—Local Houses of Blessing impact Communities
Following is a recording of three sessions Roy taught on starting a blessing movement in a community:
- Foundations and a simple pattern for starting (90 min-audio only)
- The power and practice of blessing (not cursing) (75 min-audio only)
- Practical application and conclusion (60 min-audio only)
A Local House of Prayer is a coming together of two or three people, more if possible, with a very clear intention: to see the Kingdom of God, the rule of God, break out with power in their immediate community.—Roy Godwin, Director of Ffald-y-Brenin
I understood about praying to God that He would bless.—Anne de Layser, Director of Local Houses of Prayer
This is about us standing in the authority He has given us and blessing in His name.
This makes prayer very realistic. You are praying for people and seeing their lives change.—Jane Achaloi, Pentecostal Assemblies of God, Uganda
It’s so simple, it’s manageable, everybody can do it.’
- Overview from the TEARFund (ministry in Africa)
- Resources direct from Roy Godwin
- Resources compiled in Australia
- Practical suggestions from the Australian experience
Finally, a new (2020) song of blessing. Receive this as me joining the Lord in blessing you: