How we do blessing as a house of prayer

2013-40.5

Psalm 129:8

The blessing of the Lord be upon you! We bless you in the name of the Lord!”

Friday, October 4, 2013

Speaking out words that bless

WE SPOKE yesterday of our role in fulfilling God’s desire to bless the land, with the picture of the cross on a rocky outcrop up the hillside at Ffald-y-Brenin and looking over the long (and more populated) valley below and beyond. Where we are situated here in the Chilterns, nearly 800 feet up and with views all around, there are some interesting parallels.

Ffald y Brenin centre

At the retreat centre they have a very small beehive chapel and another space more suitable for a gathering where they come together for prayers three times a day. They use a very simple Celtic style of liturgy that has similarities with the (also Celtic) Northumbrian Office that some might be familiar with. There are simple declarations of Scripture, and others drawn from the lives of those early Celtic saints, interspersed with the kind of Scripture songs that everyone can sing from memory after a few tries. On Fridays the morning prayer is extended to include the Friday Blessing which everyone joins in saying.

Here’s a flavour of the liturgy. I’m not always a great fan of liturgy, but the God-centred simplicity and rhythm and submitted power of this, I love.

The Lord is my portion, says my soul.
Therefore I will put my hope in Him

Almighty God,
In view of Your great mercy,
We lay down our lives as a (morning) sacrifice for You.
Choosing to die to self, we ask You to pour Your mighty resurrection power through us,
That Jesus may be revealed, and Your Kingdom come in power,
Changing us and redeeming the world. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer…

The Caleb Prayer
O High King of Heaven, have mercy on our land.
Revive Your church.
Send the Holy Spirit for the sake of the children.
May Your Kingdom come to our nation.
In Jesus’ mighty name. Amen

From Patrick’s Breastplate
Christ as a light illumine me and guide me. Christ as a shield overshadow me.
Christ under me, Christ over me, Christ beside me, on my left and my right.
This day be within and without me, lowly and meek yet all-powerful.
Be in the heart of each to whom I speak, in the mouth of each who speaks to me.
This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Christ as a light, Christ as a shield, Christ beside me on my left and my right.

Caleb liturgy ©2008 Roy Godwin, Ffald-y-Brenin Christian Retreat Centre.

Here’s a simple yet comprehensive blessing you can learn and say over your neighbours or just as you go about your day:

Ffald-y-Brenin simple family or household blessing

IN THE name of Jesus I bless your life, your home and your family with all the blessings of the mighty God who planned you and created you. I bless you to know everything about Him that He wants you to know. I bless you with the fullness of blessings that God longs to pour into your lives. I bless you that you may prosper in every part of life as God makes Himself clear to you. I bless your family and I bless the circumstances of your lives that they may be wholesome, healthy and strong.

And here is a lightly-edited, Speen-centric version of the Ffald-y-Brenin Friday Blessing for families and homegroups, or for a church congregation to say together at amy time:

HEAVENLY Father, we take upon ourselves the mantle of authority that Jesus delegates to us and in His Name we speak to every household in these hills, valleys, towns and villages and say to you:

“We bless you in the name of the Lord. We bless your marriages that they may be strong and whole. We bless the relationship between each marriage partner that it may be loving, forgiving, merciful and strong. We bless every intergenerational relationship within each household that there may be peace and love and understanding flowing between each one.

In Jesus’ name we bless every network of wholesome and supportive friendship.

We bless your health that you may be strong and well. In Jesus’ name we resist any sickness or disease which seeks to invade these hills and valleys and to every person in the valleys or on the hills we say, be well, be strong, be healthy. To any who are sick right now, we bless you in Jesus’ name with a speedy recovery.

We bless your wealth, that you may have plenty to replace poverty. We bless you with enough to live and enough to give. We bless the work of your hands that whatever you turn your hand to which is wholesome may be profitable. We bless every wholesome enterprise that is conducted by you that it may prosper and be successful. We bless the arable crops, and the grass of the fields and hillsides that it may be strong and nutritious throughout the year. We bless the flocks and herds that they may be well and strong, and that they may multiply.

We bless the local schools that they may be secure, safe places for teachers and pupils alike. We bless the children’s and young people’s capacity to learn and develop relationships and we bless their simple trust in Jesus, that their trust may grow and become enriched.

We speak to Speen Church at the Chapel and friends of other church fellowships and we say we bless you in the name of Lord that the Holy Spirit may flow out from you in power. We bless the hearts of all who live in the hills and valleys that you may be quickened to hear and respond to the Voice of the Living God. We bless all who live and work in Speen and the villages and towns nearby, that the overspill of the blessings of the presence of the Kingdom of God may fall upon you.”

I hope you will feel able to have a go at this. Words are powerful. Blessing is… blessing, and what we sow, we also reap. Anyone can share in this, and share in what God already wants to do in transforming lives and situations all around us. Jesus told Peter (and by extension, tells us) that we have been given the keys of the kingdom of heaven.

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