May 10, 2012

Asking for a Blessing

Genesis 32:22-32

The man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
—Genesis 32:26


If you created a list of items you should pray about, you might include asking God to heal the sick and relieve those who suffer from injustice. You might pray that people who are far from God might have their hearts transformed. Your list might ask God to bless world leaders, victims of crime, and friends and family members who are enduring personal struggles. As you made your list, you might start to think that with all of the suffering in your world, it can seem a little petty and selfish to ask God to bless you.

Praying for others is good for our walk with God. It can soften our hearts to concerns outside of ourselves. But we are never told in the Bible that our prayers should be limited to the concerns of others. Asking for God’s blessing for ourselves should also be a significant part of our prayer lives.

First, when we ask God for a blessing, we admit that we need his blessing, and we confront the fact that we are not able to do everything we want to. We show that we need God’s grace.

Second, when we ask for a blessing, we intentionally present our deepest concerns to God. This allows us to grow nearer to him, as we recognize that God really does care about us. We do not need to hide our personal concerns or desires from him.

Holy Spirit, lead me into a closer walk with you through the gift of prayer. Grant me your blessing, and help me to recognize the blessings you have already given me. Amen.

About the author — Bill Sytsma

Bill Sytsma is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary (M.Div) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min). He is the author of the book Follow the Leader and is serving as the pastor of New Life Christian Reformed Church in Highland, Indiana. He and his wife, Staci, have hosted support groups for families built through adoption. He and Staci are the proud parents of three active boys: Luke, Isaac, and Nico.

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