Blessing Your Children: How to Spiritually Bless Those You Love

Blessing your Children: How to pray a spiritual blessing over them

Today’s guest post is a wonderful one by Pat Fenner about the Judeo-Christian concept of blessing your children. I love this, because when both of my girls turned 13 I held “blessing” parties for them, where I asked 13 adult women who were important in their lives to come and say a blessing over them–name gifts they saw in the girls, or give them a word of wisdom. Their friends were invited, too, and we turned it into such a fun spa night! It was lovely. And so I’d like to spread the word about this wonderful tradition of blessing our kids–and what a difference it can make in their lives.

Many years ago, our oldest son turned 13.  It was an inspiring time for us as parents, and a significant moment in our family’s history.

About a year prior, when my husband Paul and I were still coming to grips with having our first son enter the teenage years, we began thinking and talking and praying about what we could do to make that transition year memorable and important.  We headed to Scripture, and searched it to see what ceremonies or activities we could possibly adapt from the Hebrew tradition and the early church.  For years we had already been celebrating a Christian Passover as a family, so that wasn’t really a far stretch for us.  We also sought current or popular materials on the blessing, but were somewhat dismayed at what was available at the time.  The few books we could find were dull and dry; not really engaging and a bit too, um, conceptual.  Of course, God uses all things for good (Rom 8:28), so despite the dearth of information, the net result was something that not only truly reflected our family’s beliefs, but the vision and prayers we had for our son, and subsequent children.  How it has evolved and been used over the years is something totally beyond what we could ever have imagined.

Modern Milestones vs Spiritual Steppingstones

What events can you think of that signify a child growing up?

Let’s see, first boyfriend/girlfriend (although these days I hear parents talking that way about their pre-schoolers!  Ugh!), maybe first date, getting a driver’s license, first drink, ears pierced (I guess this one could be for boys, too, these days), sweet-16 birthday, registering to vote or enter the Armed Forces…

These have become what I call modern milestones.  And while they may indeed have some significance, at best they are events on a timeline.  In and of themselves, they add no character to our children’s lives, provide no preparation for their future, and neither strengthen nor build their faith or journey with the Lord.  They are both temporal and temporary.

These modern milestones quite often occur during what we call “adolescence”, roughly between the ages of 13 and 20, when children undergo physiological changes and begin to transition their roles in the family.  (Interestingly enough, this period in life did not even exist as a concept prior to the late 19th century, was not given serious study until the early 20th century, and is generally considered to be an American “discovery”.  But that’s a whole ‘nother post…)

Spiritual steppingstones, however, are more eternal in nature.  They are more a matter of building on and building up than simply marking time.  Daily blessings or an even-bigger and more-celebrated occasion, can become a part of the fabric of your family’s life, establishing routines or customs that can help create a unique family history and identity, among other things.

Why Is It important to Bless our Children?

What are the specific benefits for them?  I believe there are 5 significant ones:

1) Blessing them builds their character and enlarges their life vision

2) Blessing your children encourages them to know you’re giving their future your intentional attention

3) Blessing your kids conveys your dreams and hopes and belief in their future

4) Blessing them daily encourages them to seek and find daily blessings in their own lives

5) Giving a blessing is a tool to grow a deeper and more “real” relationship with them

Responding to The Call

Praying for your Children

As parents, we have not only the right but the privilege to pray for and bless our kiddos, and we can find many ways to speak blessings over them frequently and informally.

1) On a daily basis, we can pray for our children by name during our quiet time.  If there are particular issues that you are working through with them, find a concordance, or use the online one here, and locate Scripture passages that speak to that struggle.  Lift them up to the Father by name.  He already knows, of course, but it’s good for us to ask on their behalf.

2) You can then share that info with your kids, and let them know what you’ve done/are doing!  Tell them how and what you’ve prayed for them (see #1) over a meal, or while you’re sitting together in the family room at the end of the day.  Follow-through by asking them about those situations and how you can further pray for them.  Reassuring them in this way that their issues/problems/requests are important enough for YOU to pray about most definitely blesses them…

3) Decide for yourself the daily events that you’ll choose to use as a blessing opportunity.  For example, when they leave for school in the morning, before practice or rehearsal in the afternoon, at supper, before bedtime.  Locate a Scripture that reflects your dreams and desires for them, or one that is relevant (see #1), replace their name in the appropriate sections and speak it aloud over them!  The first few times may be a little uncomfortable, but I promise that if you persevere, not only will these times become precious to you both, but they will start to remind you if you forget.

A Notable Spiritual Steppingstone

To get back to my opening story, all those years ago, Paul and I did fashion a beautiful ceremony that we have subsequently replicated with unique touches for each of our other children.  It has become a family tradition to celebrate their 13th birthday in this manner.   Referred to in our family simply as “the Blessing Service”, each child has spoken of it (and 1 still anticipates it!) as a memorable and pivotal time in their young lives.

Too much to describe here, I’ve included the information on that celebration in a special booklet I have available on our website, Mom’s Morning Coffee.   Just shoot us an email and we’ll be glad to send you out the free, downloadable document in PDF form, filled with resources and references, the format we use for our family’s service, and sample prayers of blessing.

Blessing your children is a wonderful way to encourage and build them up, and a great tool for releasing God’s best in their lives!

Pat FennerPat Fenner is a Yankee city-girl who has been adopted by the sleepy, sunny south. Married for 28 years and the mother of 5, she woke up one day to discover she reached the stage of life where she is the “older woman” described in Titus 2:3-5. She owns Mom’s Morning Coffee.com with her good friend Candy, and enjoys writing, homeschooling and doing whatever the Lord puts on her plate each day! You can reach her via email and look for her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Comments

  1. I LOVE this. My husband’s family does a big blessing whenever someone gets engaged, and it’s so much cooler than a wedding shower. At ours, when we thanked everyone at the end, my husband announced that other than getting to marry me, that blessing is by far the best thing about being engaged. I love the idea of doing blessings for other life events as well. So awesome.

    • That’s beautiful. What do they do exactly? I’d love to know!

      • They invite people who have been influential in the couple’s lives (immediate and extended family, close friends, etc.) and they have everyone give an individual blessing and advice to the couple over their marriage. Typically, they start with single people or the people who have been married the shortest amount of time and end with grandparents and great-grandparents and it’s really, really sweet and awesome. Since I was the one marrying into the family (and I was from across the country), my immediate family and a couple of people from my extended family came, but my grandparents sent letters and my husband’s family took the opportunity to welcome me into the family and it is just incredibly sweet. We will absolutely do the same if we have kids and they grow up and get married. I have a book of personal written blessings and advice that people from that event gave me too. Best part of being engaged (other than getting to marry my husband at the end!)

  2. Our church always prays for the kids before they head off to Sunday School.
    About a year ago, the pastor decided it should be the same blessing every week, so that it goes deep into them and they remember it.
    Now my 4yo recites the prayer of blessing along with the adults every week, and a lot of the other kids know it by heart too. It’s so neat to see.

  3. I love this. I usually say a special prayer and blessing over my children on their birthday at dinner or bedtime. I can’t remember where I came up with the idea. It starts with thanking God for them. And then asking God to bless them with a deeper relationship and walk with him, discernment of his calling on their life and whatever else comes to my mind. We are Catholic so every night at bedtime after prayers I trace a cross on their forehead and say may Almighty God bless you. That is kind of a generic blessing if there is a such thing. My children love it even the older ones they think they can’t go to sleep without being kissed and blessed. If I am gone at bedtime I usually arrive to all of them still awake in their beds. When I say why are you still awake they say daddy didn’t. bless us. That being said I have never thought of having a ceremony are party where important. people in their life blessed them as part of a kind of growing up ceremony. I have been thinking about something special to do because they are nearing those years and I had read that our culture lacked those ceremonies that marked their growing into adulthood. And that was important. So now I have some new ideas to ponder. Thank you. I love your blog Shelia

    because my two oldest are neari

  4. I love the Lord’s timing…I just wrote a post about turning our kids over to the Lord, especially through the heartache I feel as I watch my kindergartener become more independent. Our oldest (of 6) just turned 12. I am so glad I read this post before his 13th birthday! Thank you for the wonderful ideas for the blessing ceremony. It has me thinking already! (As a sidenote, I used to work at a physical therapy clinic where the boss would take us all out to a nice restaurant on each of our birthdays and speak a blessing over the birthday person in the prayer before the meal. It was really neat!)
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  5. Very interesting! Thank you for sharing. I’ve actually been thinking about the custom of blessing a lot lately. In my family of origin my dad’s side were religious and formal blessings were a part of days like Christmas and the New Year. I’ve been grappling with what that meant for me spiritually, while also seeing all the strife and sins committed by my family (only human, after all). So my thinking has been going more in the direction of being a blessing for my kids, not just speaking one. By that I mean blessing them with life skills, by teaching and modelling these. Blessing them with the knowledge of God, by taking them to church and incorporating things about God into our daily lives. While I do think I am on the right track there, I also still kept thinking about just the spiritual implication of speaking a blessing over them. After all we do read about it way back in the Old Testament and it was a big deal. So this article has given me some more food for thought. I’ll be writing an e-mail requesting the PDF mentioned. My kids are still young, but the teen years will be here before you know it, and I like the idea of a formal type ceremony for them.

  6. I read a book called the Powere of a Parent’s Blessing by Craig Hill…..LOVE IT!

    • I read that book too. It’s great. We gave our eldest daughter a blessing party at 14yrs. After that she just flourished and is an amazing godly young women today. Our words are powerful as we speak into the lives of our children and this blessing ceremony is the cherry on the cake. Our second daughter anticipates her blessing this year at age 15yrs. We believe that a child/young adult needs to be ready in a receptive manner to accept the blessings given to them.

  7. Thank -you so much for the information on blessing of 13 year olds (+). Really good information. Lord willing planning to do a blessing ceremony for my 13 year old grand nephew. You mentioned about a free booklet that you would send related to “the blessing service” that you gave your children. If possible could you send one to me, would greatly appreciate it.
    Thank-you very much,
    Sincerely,
    S. Golder

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