Have you ever thought about how to pray over another person? We’re commanded to do so in Scripture. For instance, if any is sick, they are supposed to go to the elders to be prayed over (James 5:14). How about this prayer, given by God Himself to Moses to be the prayer for Aaron and his sons to pray over the “sons of Israel” (the Israelites):
Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
“Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them:
The LORD bless you, and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.’
“So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.”
– Numbers 6:22-27, NASB
This prayer is an awesome prayer. It only wishes the best for the one being prayer over. It asks for the Lord’s blessing. It requests the Lord’s protection. It invokes the Lord’s goodness and mercy and asks God to bring the person peace. It also asks for God to look favorable upon said person. Yet it is so short and so simple. This is the type of prayer most of us could memorize in a few minutes. But in all the Bible memorization material I’ve seen, I don’t think I can ever recall this prayer being one of the central ones to memorize. I’ve seen Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), but not this one. And I found that odd, given what this prayer is saying. So I’ve endeavored to memorize it.
But it goes beyond memorization, I think. This is a prayer of utter blessing and goodness from God upon another. Spoken with the purest of hearts, it should certainly uplift the other. Prayed in the will of God, it is one He will answer so abundantly. And that got me to thinking… we don’t say these kinds of prayers much over our brothers and sisters in Christ. We really ought to. Somewhere along the way we’ve lost this practice except in special times like when someone is fighting cancer, or a teenager is graduating from high school, or we are are ordaining someone as a deacon or into the ministry. It’s not a regular practice for us to look to pray over one another, asking for God’s blessing on another. I mean, we may throw that in as part of a prayer, but it’s not a central focus of our praying. And certainly it’s not something we do purposefully where we are praying over the other person. That’s a practice I plan on changing.
As I look at my own family, I have a beautiful wife and three wonderful children. I am surrounded by a loving church family and am entrusted with a junior high youth ministry. But the times when I’ve spent praying over any of them (in their presence) has been relatively rare. I think that’s a wonderful way of showing you care and love another. And so it’s a practice, especially with my family, that I will seek to do more often. Blessings were seen as extremely powerful in the Old Testament. Look at the response to Jacob stealing Esau’s blessing (Genesis 27). Our speaking a prayer of blessing upon those in our lives can be powerful, too. So it is something we should endeavor to do more of.