A Lenten Prayer Exercise for March 1 - 7, 2015
Blessing Prayer (Genesis 17:15-16)
There are times when a promise is so surprising that we laugh because of the delight and sheer improbability of it. Scripture tells us that both Abraham and Sarah laughed in response to God’s promise (Gen. 17:17 & 18:12). It isn’t just the laughter as an expression of delight or doubt that draws our attention, it is the blessing of Sarah. “God said to Abraham, 'As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”
Today we often view blessings as getting what we want. When things are going well, we see it as a blessing. Quite subtly "blessing" is seen as something that we receive that makes us special or makes life easier. From this perception blessings are finite, some receive it and others do not. Yet in God’s economy blessing has a broader meaning. “Blessings are affirmations of God’s loving-kindness toward the world God created.” In the truest sense, a blessing is aligned with God’s intention in the world. In God’s blessing of Sarai, we are reminded of God’s covenant (Gen. 17: 1-7). Jesus expanded our understanding of blessing and those that are blessed in his “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7; Luke 6:17-49).
Guidelines for Blessing Prayer
As those in covenant with God, we are God’s blessers to a suffering world. In Blessing Prayer we model God’s action and movement of compassion, grace and kindness. This kind of prayer can be offered in most any situation. To pray a blessing prayer is to pray for an experience of God’s favor for others. Thus blessings are not only for those we love and know, but also for those with whom we may not agree.
Blessing prayers are part of our incarnational presence in our neighborhood to the concerns and needs of others. Often our "work" in restoration begins in blessing. In blessing, our prayer for others can be more confident. We bless others in God's name.
If you feel judgment, fear or anger, take time in prayer to process your feelings. Ask for God’s perspective. God yearns for everyone’s redemption and healing. Begin by recognizing God’s loving-kindness; then pray for God’s intervention or favor. Close with a blessing.
For 3-4 days/approximately 15 minutes each day
Day One: First of all begin by blessing your family and friends. Take approximately 15 minutes to walk through your neighborhood. Think of those in your immediate community, visualize your neighbors, pray for them and ask God's blessing. If you are aware of specific needs, pray specifically.
Day Two: Begin by blessing your family and friends. Schedule time during the day, or one day this week, to walk through a part of your larger community. (You decide when and where. Suggestions include your work area, Downtown, along Ruston Way, the mall, a specific business area, an area that needs revitalizing, etc.) Pray for God's blessing.
Day Three: Using a local newspaper or other news source, pray for God's blessing on a national or international concern or event.
If needed, adapt your prayer pattern this week to weather conditions.
Day Four: If you can, join us at Trinity, Saturday morning, March 7th at 9:00 a.m. as we walk our Trinity neighborhood and pray God's blessing. We will meet by our main entrance.
Where did you walk your blessing prayer this week? What national and/or international concern or event did you pray for God’s blessing? Consider taking photos of the places you walked (where appropriate). You are invited to email us about your prayer experience to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell us where you walked (street address layout) and any photos you would like to share. On your Instagram and/or Facebook account use #tpctacoma.
Scriptures from the Lectionary: Read during the week
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16: reference for our Prayer Experience this week