by Josh Porter
Begin with prayer and conversation
Gather together as a Community in a comfortable setting. Have somebody lead a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together. Spend a few minutes going around the room, catching up on life. (Most of this practice is dialogue with one another, so keep the life updates brief.)
Debrief Last Week’s Practice
- How was your experience reading Acts in its entirety?
- During your time of listening prayer, what did God’s Spirit speak over the current state and future of your discipleship?
Read this overview
The New Testament teaches that we have the power of life and death in our words, that the way we greet and speak to one another matters. Paul begins every one of his letters with the profound blessing of the grace and peace of God the father over his audience.
Ronald Rolheiser argues that “we bless others when we see them, delight in their energy rather than feel threatened by it, and give away some of our own life to help resource their lives… We cannot force others to bless us, but we can bless others, and in that is our freedom.”
Blessing others by speaking truth and encouragement over them is one way God builds up disciples of Jesus and releases them into their God-given identity and calling. Whether we think of ourselves as noteworthy or ordinary, eloquent or tongue-tied, with the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead alive in them, every one of Jesus’ apprentices has the power and potential to bless others.
We are not only empowered by God to bless others with your words but we are responsible to God for it.
Do this practice together as a community
Have one person invite God’s Spirit to speak blessing over the members of your community through one another, then spend a few minutes listening. God may bring a Scripture to mind, or a memory, or a simple word of affection and affirmation for someone or several people in the group.
After a period of listening, begin with one person and have every person in the group speak blessing over them before moving on to the next person. If something came to mind during listening prayer, tell that person when their turn comes up. If nothing specific came to mind, bless the person anyway by articulating what you admire, appreciate, and respect about that person.
Have every person peak loving kindness, encouragement, and blessing over each member of your community, one-by-one.
Discuss the coming week’s Practice
This week, take a journal and set aside time for listening prayer. Ask God’s Spirit who he would have you bless and what he would have you say. If you have trouble hearing anything specific, make time to come back and listen again. Write down what you hear so that you won’t forget.
Then: Obey. Bless that person. Reach out to them. Tell them what God told you in listening prayer.
Close in a prayer of thanksgiving