The Scripture speaks of our blessing God, “I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons” (Psa. 16:7). When we say that we ‘bless the Lord,’ what is meant by that? In truth, we can add nothing to God. Only God can bestow a blessing. He alone has the power of life. Blessing God is a means by which we affirm the blessed state of God’s existence, His adequacy, His all-sufficiency and His abundance. It is a means of bestowing honor and expressing gratitude. It is a self-reminder of the distance between God and us. It is our assent to all we have learned about God out of Scripture, by the Spirit and in life itself. It is our ‘yes, and Amen!’ In our blessing God, we are attempting to do what we cannot do, what is not possible – and that which Spurgeon said breaks “…the narrow circle of our capacity. It is an earnest endeavor of a burning heart to lay at God’s feet crowns of glory which it cannot find.”
Blessing God is the expression of a desire to do what cannot be done; nevertheless, our hearts are overwhelmed by His benefits, His favor, His grace, and we want to reciprocate, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The idea is that of kneeling before God and receiving counsel and direction, of inviting the guidance of God by the prayerful declaration of dependence in a dark night. For such a blessing, the believer exalts God and offers gratitude. He affirms the nature of God as one who blesses. This same word occurs when Isaac, by implication, kneels before his father, and Abraham calls down the blessing of Yahweh on his son. He effectively transfers the bearing of blessing on the next generation. Jacob kneels before Isaac, asking for the blessing that rightly belonged to Esau – and amazingly, despite the deception, Isaac blesses him (Gen. 27:19).
All worship finds its zenith in blessing. Through worship, through all the recitations and prayers, through the singing and praising, through the reading and the preaching, the service moves to one point – the priestly blessing. We worship in anticipation of the continued blessing of God on our lives. The invocation and benediction, the blessing, and all in between is one prayer – that God would bless us! Out of worship and out of prayer, we are to function as blessed of the Lord, and therefore, we are the agents of blessing. Prayer is at its heart worship and at its edge mission. Its center is knowing the love of God; its edge is pressing that love into dark places by prayer – thus, intercession. As intercessory agents, we get to say the words of blessing, to do the pronouncement. We stand in the middle, between God who has blessed us. Indeed, He has called us by salvation (the act of blessing) into the state (the condition) of being blessed. Out of that reservoir, we are blessed to bless. We are moved to bless. Led to bless. Blessing is the privilege of a priest, and we are a kingdom of priests (1 Peter 2:9; Ex. 19:6; Rev. 1:6).
Claus Westermann says, “Where blessing is spoken, there develops a specific vocabulary in which such terms as success, succeed, Presence of God, and peace occur.” Perhaps the most apt word is shalom. It is the essence of the concept and experience of ‘the rest.’ What remains of the promise left unappropriated by Israel is now extended to us. “There is rest that remains…” (Heb. 4:9-11). It is the ultimate Sabbath, a place in God, a state of being blessed; blessed beyond the capacity of the world or the devil to molest. Blessed with an inner sense of undisturbed peace, crowned with joy. Westermann amplifies this, noting – berakhah is the power of the blessing vertically, from generation to generation. Shalom is the power of the blessing horizontally, affecting the community around us, changing the culture.
How can you be a blessing to God?
This blog is part of The Praying Church Handbook – Volume III – Pastor and the Congregation which can be purchased at alivepublications.org>
P. Douglas Small is founder and president of Alive Ministries: PROJECT PRAY and he serves in conjunction with a number of other organizations. He is also the creator of the Praying Church Movement and the Prayer Trainer’s Network. However, all views expressed are his own and not the official position of any organization.
 Charles Spurgeon, Blessing for Blessing (Spurgeon’s Sermons Volume 38: 1892; Sermon No. 2266). Preached by Spurgeon on Sunday evening, October 26, 1890, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle.
 Sigmund Mowinckel, Religion and Kultus (Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University, 1981, 1953), 64-66.
 Westermann, 28.
 Ibid, 29.