If you've never thought about being intentional with “favor” let me assure you that it works. To protect our children's privacy I won't go into details, but they experience the favor of man on a regular basis. Our children also experience the favor of God, on a regular basis. Sherrel and I are very intentional about praying for our children to have favor with both man and God, because it works. And it will work for your children also.
Another area of spiritual authority you have available for creating opportunities in your children's lives is to speak God's blessing over them.
This benediction is frequently spoken over congregations at the end of more formal church services:
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you,
and be gracious to you.
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you,
and give you peace.
Many of us have heard this for years. But we don't hear it as intended in Numbers 6:22–27. We don't hear it as the preacher calling down God's blessing on us. We hear it as more of a request to God for His blessing. The “may” in this benediction is probably messing things up. Look at the passage in the KJV:
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them. (Numbers 6:22–27)
God gave very clear instructions to Moses on how Aaron and his sons were supposed to bless the children of Israel. Yes, God was the one providing the substance of the blessing, but the blessing was initiated on the command of Aaron. Aaron commanded God's blessing on the Israelites and put His name upon them; and then… and then God blessed them.
Please note: I am not saying God does not bless people unless we command it. If we're breathing we're blessed. I am saying we are instructed in His Word to be intentional about blessing other people—even our enemies.
To say “God, I ask you to bless my children” is weak in comparison to God's instruction for Aaron and his sons. If you think “command” is too strong of a word, picture Aaron and his sons (he had two sons left at this time) blessing between 2 and 3 million people. (I don't know if it was done in shifts, if Aaron used some of the Levites to help him, or how just how he did it. But he did it.) He certainly did not speak as if God's participation was optional. No…! He commanded the blessing of the Lord over those people. He initiated the blessing with his command. And God followed through with the substance of the blessing.
I am not pushing a particular technique by which we are to bless our children (or any other person). I am after an attitude of confidence and strength. And to approach the blessing of the Lord with an attitude of weakness is to reduce its significance to the level of a blessing after a sneeze.
The blessing of the Lord is a very big deal. Ask Esau, if you don't believe me. Do you realize what life would be like here on this earth without the blessing of the Lord? I've listed some of the highlights from Deuteronomy 28:15–68 (NLT):
- Your towns and your fields will be cursed.
- Your fruit baskets and breadboards will be cursed.
- Your children and your crops will be cursed. The offspring of your herds and flocks will be cursed.
- Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be cursed.
- You will grope around in broad daylight like a blind person groping in the darkness, but you will not find your way. You will be oppressed and robbed continually, and no one will come to save you.
- You will be engaged to a woman, but another man will sleep with her. You will build a house, but someone else will live in it. You will plant a vineyard, but you will never enjoy its fruit.
- You will watch as your sons and daughters are taken away as slaves. Your heart will break for them, but you won't be able to help them.
- The most tenderhearted man among you will have no compassion for his own brother, his beloved wife, and his surviving children.
- Your life will constantly hang in the balance. You will live night and day in fear, unsure if you will survive.
I'm not trying to depress you; I'm tying to stir you up. These items were selected from the text in Deuteronomy because many people around the world live exactly like this. And the secular culture in America is unwittingly creating this kind of an environment for the weak among us. I know it to be true because I see it. It's easy to see if you are willing to look. Do you want your children living like this?
Please realize, the blessing of the Lord is all that stands between your children and this reality. The pop culture is certainly not standing between your children and this reality. The economy is not standing between your children and this reality. And the government is not standing between your children and this reality. Only the blessing of the Lord protects your children from being overcome.
When the blessing of the Lord is absent, darkness prevails. Darkness does not overcome light; darkness is the absence of light. This cursed life, as described in Deuteronomy and experienced by many people around the world, does not and cannot overpower God's blessing; this cursed life is what remains when God's blessing is not present. Let me say it again: The curses of a fallen world cannot overpower the blessing of God; they can only take over if God's blessing is not present.
So let's become aggressive in prayer. Let's have the same attitude as Aaron and his sons when they blessed the Israelites. Let's have the same attitude as Elijah when he called down fire from Heaven in 1 Kings chapter 18.
The words you use to bless your children are not as important as your attitude. How can I say that? Your words do not trigger the blessing of God. Otherwise, why wouldn't you just record a prayer of blessing for each of your children and play these recordings 24 hours each day? It is your faith that releases the substance of God's blessing.
“Be blessed in Jesus' Name” from a parent who understands the power of God's blessing will unleash more power from Heaven than 10,000 words spoken in weakness.
If you don't know where to start, follow this example: “Johnny, the Lord bless you and keep you, today. 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. In Jesus' Name.” Speak as if you are speaking to your child in person. Pray this out loud—not because louder prayers are more effective, but because praying out loud helps you develop your sense of authority over the darkness of this world.
Practice this until you cannot even be tempted, ever again, to ask the Lord if He will bless someone. Instead, hear His voice telling you to declare the blessing (which He is telling you to do), and He will back you up. Speak blessing over your children and know God is following you up with a most incredible force—His blessing.
Tomorrow we will continue with other forms of prayer.
Have a good day,