This is the first in a 5-part series which takes on the very serious question: how do we Bless people practically? If we are supposed to be carrying out the vision of Grafted, “Honor God by helping as many people as possible become fully committed members in Christ’s Forever Family,” by using our mission, “Bless, Belong, Believe, and Bloom,” how are we supposed to do that first step, Bless? Dave Ferguson at the Verge Network asked that same question for his church’s missional communities (their version of small groups) and came up with a 5-point answer which changes “Bless” into an acronym:
- Begin with prayer,
- Service, and
Each of these 5 posts is going to take one of these ideas and give a bit of a biblical background to the idea and practical ideas for how to do it in real life. On to week 1: Begin with prayer.
This may be the clearest of the 5 when we consider how to apply it in real life. “How do you begin with prayer?” Simple: pray. But far too often we engage in some activity in our day and we don’t pray. As a church, we have conducted a business meeting where we confirmed a new Governor to our church’s Governance Team and we did not start the meeting in prayer because we had business that we had to get to accomplishing. Good thing we prayed to commission her, or we might have forgotten completely that prayer was an option!
Prayer may be easily missed, but it is incredibly important! Prayer is the avenue through which we get the chance to interact with the God who is powerful enough to create all things, set all things in motion, and sustain all things, the God who is patient enough to allow us to make mistake after mistake and still wait for the time to be right to pull us back to our senses, the God who won’t turn a blind eye to the actions of those who cause pain to His people and His creation, the God who is humble enough to set aside His glory, taking on the skin of humanity, to be our God-with-us (Emmanuel), and the God who loves us enough to demonstrate His love for us by dying for us while we were in active rebellion from Him. Prayer is a chance to talk to a powerful, patient, just, humble, and loving God, and to ask Him to align our thoughts and heart to His, to encourage us, and to orchestrate our desires to come to fruition. Prayer can be an essential part of every part of your day, if you let it.
The Apostle Paul said in one of his letters to the church at Thessalonica, “Pray without ceasing…”, while I have not mastered that art, I know that the more that I pray as I enter into situations where I may be uncomfortable, or downright scared, or need His power to move mightily, or just want to know the best thing to do and to have the courage to do it… the more I pray and ask my Heavenly Father for the gift of Him making Himself known, the more I see it coming to fruition.
As you begin to try to bless people, it may be awkward, echo the prayer of our Savior and Lord and cry out, “Daddy, be with me.” (heavy paraphrase of Matthew 6:9-13) Or I am always a fan of asking God to help me to know the right thing to do and to have the courage to do it.
What prayers have you seen answered as you have tried to bless people in the past?