study, Prayer of Blessing

Prayer of Blessing

Newbreak’s Sermon Study Guide is an in-house resource that serves sermon-based Life Groups and/or individuals who want to reflect further on how the message contributes to their spiritual formation. In this week’s study, we talk about how Prayers of blessing remind us who God really is and how he is working in our lives. Our hope is that you see why prayers of blessing should be part of your everyday conversations with God.

Icebreakers for Life Groups

  • Describe in detail what your ideal vacation would look like?
  • How has our recent sermon series on prayer impacted your prayer life?

Read Numbers 6:24

Why should prayers of blessing be part of my everyday conversations with God?

Point 1 – Prayers of blessing invite God’s protection.

Numbers 6:24–26 is a special prayer that God gave to Aaron and his sons (the priests of Israel) to pray over the Israelites as a way of blessing them. But as the “royal priesthood” of the new covenant (see 1 Peter 2:9), this is a prayer that we, too, are invited to pray.

The first line invites God’s blessing and protection. Blessing is the broad stroke of what the whole prayer is about–experiencing God’s blessing is about his divine power and favor working on your behalf.

Protection is more specific. The verb for “keep” comes from the Hebrew, shamar, which also means to “protect” or “guard” (like in military contexts). It is important to note here that the blessing of protection is not about being safeguarded from hardship or difficulty, but rather kept through it. Of course, not all suffering is inflicted by God, but to have his protection means that he can safeguard you through anything that comes your way, even through the passageway of death itself (see Psalm 23:4).

Questions for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection

  • Can you describe a time in your life when you experienced God’s protection through a time of hardship? How has that experience shaped your faith journey?
  • How can you apply the prayer of Numbers 6:24-26 in your own life? How can it help you guide your prayers for others?

Read Numbers 6:25

Why should prayers of blessing be part of my everyday conversations with God?

Point 2 – Prayers of blessing speak God’s approval.

To have God’s “face shine upon you” can also be translated, as in the NLT, as “smile on you.” What a wonderful picture of God! Many people think of God as having a cold, grim look or perhaps an “R.B.F.” Irreverent? Perhaps, but also untrue! God’s disposition isn’t sour or stern, it is rather happy–marked by a smile. Sure, there are times when God has to act with justice when His good creation is threatened by serious sin, but again, His preferred and most natural disposition is one of delight. He smiles on you. Think about that for a while! Does that not bring a smile to your face?

When a parent looks at their child with beaming eyes and a genuine smile, it communicates to a child that they are loved and approved of. Praying Numbers 6:25 over someone is inviting them to see the happy God smiling on them. It would be a powerful thing to pray over your kids and then follow up by saying: “The Lord delights in you, and so do I.” Few things can revolutionize our theology (our view of God) like seeing him as the God who smiles and takes delight in us (see also Zephaniah 3:17).

Exodus 33:11 tells us that, “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.” The Lord would make His face shine on Moses and be gracious to him. This caused Moses’ face to shine on others when he would go into the camp to talk to the Israelites. When we are receiving God’s approval in our prayer lives our countenances should light up the room. People around us should see God through our bright, shining faces.

Questions for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection

  • If you could draw a picture of God’s face when He thinks of you, what would that picture look like? What does that picture tell you about how you relate to God? *Don’t focus on it being accurate (it won’t be!) but focus on thinking about the disposition of His face.
  • How does the idea of God smiling on you change the way you approach God in prayer? Why or why not?
  • Does your countenance out in public reflect God’s love and pleasure in you to others? How can this be the case more often?

Read Numbers 6:26

Why should prayers of blessing be part of my everyday conversations with God?

Point 3 – Prayers of blessing lead to God’s peace.

So often we have stress in our lives because we have unresolved issues with people in our lives, whether family members, co-workers, friends, or neighbors. When we do as God commands and pray blessings over those around us, especially those with whom we may have some friction, God takes the negative feelings we have and replaces them with His peace, His Shalom. His perfect peace does not always change our circumstances, nor does it change the other person right away, but it gives us a sense of calm. We know that whatever may come, He loves us and will guide us in what is right for our lives.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV). This peace that God gives us when we’re in prayer, praying blessings over those around us, guards our hearts and minds. This protects us from the anxious thoughts that plague us at times.

Questions for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection

  • Who in your life do you want God to soften your heart towards? What blessing do you think you can pray for them?
  • What area/s of your life do you need to feel God’s peace right now? Are you asking for His blessings in these areas? If not, why not?
  • When do you feel most like God is turning His face toward you and giving you peace? What can you do to experience this more often?

Read Numbers 6:27

Why should prayers of blessing be part of my everyday conversations with God?

Point 4 – Prayers of blessing remind us that we belong to God.

We want to challenge you to pray these words over others, out loud, and perhaps even ask someone to pray them over you. Watch what might happen when prayers of blessing, like in Numbers 6:24–26 are spoken over you and over others with genuine faith. Sincerely praying these words over someone is not a magic formula, but it is taking God up on an offer, where in Numbers 6:27 he does say that he will bless in response to this prayer. His blessing might not match our expectations, but that’s not the point here. The point is that prayers like this remind us that we belong to God–furthermore, that we belong to the God who blesses, who protects, who smiles, who gives his favor and peace, etc.

When we speak blessing into the lives of others, we help them experience more of who God really is. That is because to pray a blessing over a child is to attach high value to them. It is to confirm their identity in Jesus and to cast vision regarding their future.

If you don’t know where to start, start with the loved ones you see often. If you have kids, try praying this blessing over them every night. If you want more inspiration and encouragement on how this looks check out our new blog post entitled: “How to Pray a Blessing Over Your Kids”.

Questions for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection

  • Who in your life can you start praying Numbers 6:24–26 over weekly or daily? (Challenge: Pray it out loud over them.)
  • What other Bible verses can become prayers of blessing to pray over yourself or others?
  • What steps can you take this week to memorize Numbers 6:24-26?

Memory Verse: Numbers 6:24–26 (NLT) 24 ‘May the Lord bless you and protect you. 25 May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. 26 May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.’

Final Challenge Questions

  • How are you going to think or live differently in light of what you have read, heard, and discussed this week?
  • How does this week’s message shape or nurture your relationship with God?
  • BONUS: For those of you with kids or around kids: What is one truth from this message that you can share with your kids in a way that they would relate to or understand?

About Our Current Series

“What do I say?” It’s not just a question that is asked when seeking advice on how to interact with someone–anyone. It is also a question that is common for people to wonder when it comes to talking to God. Prayer is a way of being with God, and often it is conversational. You could say that prayer is an “everyday conversation” that we all are invited to have with God. And while many of the things that come up in the conversation will be spontaneous felt needs, this sermon series is meant to challenge you to consider four topics that will benefit your life if they become part of your everyday conversations with God.

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