Sometimes we place ourselves between God and others as intercessors. We want to represent the love and care of God towards people. Or we want to bring the cause of people we love before the Lord in prayer. Sometimes we do this in the form of a blessing. A blessing is not prayer, it is a word addressed to another person, but implied in those words is a prayer that the Lord would hear and respond and use the very words we are saying as the avenue he pours his grace through into the lives of others.
Here is an example: Psalm 20 is a blessing, seeking God’s favor upon the king and thus upon the nation. The song is seeking favor in the hard times (particularly military strife), in the pursuit of life, and in the particular trials of the good times (particularly military strength). Psalm 21 is a song of Thanks for the answer to that prayer. Note the interesting perspective. It is a blessing in that it is prayer of the congregation praying for the king…but it is addressed to the king. May the Lord answer you… may the Lord protect you…
Psa 20:1-5 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you! (2) May he send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion! (3) May he remember all your offerings and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah (4) May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans! (5) May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions!
In “Future Grace,” John Piper is considering the example of the apostle Paul in his letters. Piper points out that Paul’s letters all begin with the blessing “Grace to You” and end with the blessing “Grace with you.” He says:
“Blessings are peculiar. They focus on the persons spoken to (“Grace to you”). But they also appeal to God to do something (“Grace to you from God our Father”). The person who blesses takes a position between God and others, and makes his words a conduit of blessing between the two. Blessings are not quite the same as prayers, because the person addressed is not God but other people. You look them in the eye, as it were, and say, “Grace be to you.” There is however a prayer-like quality, because implicit in the blessing is the appeal, “O God, make these very words of mine a means of grace from you.”
Piper, John. Future Grace, Revised Edition (p. 106). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
He would go on to explore the meaning between the unbroken pattern in Paul’s letters beginning with “Grace to you” as a desire that the letter he is writing will be a means of God’s grace in the lives of its recipients. And then as they are finished reading and putting the letter away and going home, his desire is that the recipients would continue with the grace that God granted them through the letter.
In consideration of this Psalm and Paul’s example we have a call and example to use our words to build others up and be the road on which God’s blessings flow into their lives. We are told in (Ephesians 4:29) “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Of course there is only “…one mediator between God and Man, the Man Christ Jesus” 1 Timothy 2:5. I am not suggesting we stand between God and others in this sense. They do not need to go to any other priest to enter into the Lord’s presence. Yet God has given us the privilege, responsibility, and joy to represent others in prayer of their behalf and to offer the very words and actions that will be the means of his grace flowing into their lives. Go and offer a blessing to others today!