For the Hebrew people, the blessing of children was a high priority. Built into their daily lives were regular times to bless their children. The first was every Shabbat (Sabbath beginning Friday night), typically the father would lay his hands on them and pray blessings over them. Each of the three yearly feasts (Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles) included activities for children to enter in and understand their value as part of the family of God. Later on rites of passage such as Bar Mitzah (when a boy turns 13 – means “Son of Commandments”) and Bat Mitzah (when a girl turns 12 – means “Daughter of Commandments”) were added to signify their moving from childhood into the responsibilities of adulthood. A final significant blessing was given at the end of the parent’s life and was associated with inheritance.
The typical weekly blessing included the “Aaronic” or “priestly” blessing found in Numbers 6:24-26 “The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”
Interestingly, this is the prayer I pray over my daughter at night. Now that she is older, we say it together and it has become a special way to end the day.
Jesus took time out for children. He laid His hands on them and blessed them. He valued children. I can picture them following Him, drawn by His love and compassion, interested in His stories and amazed by the miracles.
There are many ways to pray blessings over our children and when included with hugs and words of affirmation they go a long way in feeding our children’s spirits as we speak life to them. They never outgrow their need of blessing, from conception to our last breath, let’s bless our children! A smile, a hug, a note, words of praise or encouragement all remind them of not only our love, but of their heavenly Father’s affection for them. We are their first model of Father’s love, our touch their first understanding of Father’s touch. If you aren’t in the habit of regularly blessing your child(ren), start today!
How do you bless your children? Feel free to comment.