Psalms 20:1-2 May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.
It’s interesting that this is labeled “A Psalm of David,” whereas others are labeled “prayers” of David. I think that’s because the focus here isn’t on David himself; he’s actually praying blessing for others. Blessing others is one of the highest return-for-effort activities we can do. The only reason we don’t do it a lot more often is that we are so self-centered. The famous priestly blessing in Numbers 6:24-26 has been set to music multiple times, to marvelous effect. Just recently my younger daughter, who leads worship at her church in the US, used one of those arrangements in a farewell service for their pastor, to marvelous effect. Not only was the pastor and his family blessed, or even everyone in the congregation, but also, I think, all who saw and heard it via the Internet. Imparting blessing with our words is real, however illogical that might seem. Genesis 1 says that God spoke the universe into existence, and He has given us the gift of speech as well. How we use that gift is our responsibility. As James points out, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.” (James 3:9-10) We have been given the privilege of praising God and blessing people, and we do well to make full use of it. I think many people hesitate to speak blessing to others because they think it would seem like they are putting themselves on a higher level than the person they are blessing. That’s not the case at all, because the fulfillment of the blessing comes from God, not us. Blessing others is simply acting as a tube so that some of God’s living water can drip through, at least.
I had a real revelation in terms of intentionally blessing others not long after we came to Omura, almost 40 years ago. Yongi Cho came to Fukuoka for a big meeting to encourage Japanese Christians, and he touched on the subject. I have absolutely no memory of what he said, actually, but I do remember getting the message from the Lord that I could and should bless others intentionally with my words. The group I was with had lunch, I think it was, at a little restaurant, and there was a little girl, maybe three years old, not with our group, running around. I very clearly remember speaking blessing to her, and how much it blessed me to be an agent of God’s blessing. In the years since I have tried to make a practice of that, but I haven’t been as consistent as I could have been. For many years now I have opened each of my school classes with prayer, praying blessing on my students, and I have gotten some very grateful feedback. I’m very thankful the Lord opened my eyes to the practice of blessing, because it has certainly blessed me!
Father, thank You for the privilege of blessing others. Thank You for Your unlimited blessings to us all – even the ones that don’t feel like blessings in the moment. Help me be a faithful and consistent channel of Your blessings, that many would be drawn to You for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!