After fourteen years, their marriage had hit a flat spot.
It wasn't as though they'd been arguing or fighting or
ignoring one another. They were still a deeply devoted
couple. And yet . after fourteen years, they had expected
and hoped for something more. Where was that higher,
deeper level of spiritual bonding between them? It simply
wasn't there, and both of them knew it.
So they tried something new.
They began to bless each other-actually speaking
aloud words of blessing to one another-at the beginning
of each day.
That was more than a quarter-century ago. Today, Bill
and Dorothy Jean will tell you that by blessing each other
daily, they've developed an extraordinary intimacy of heart,
soul, and mind. Their morning discussions are rich and
inspiring, and God's power becomes evident to them
throughout each day, based on the blessings they gave and
received at sunrise.
Offering this kind of spoken blessing to someone is
something many of us probably can't quite picture ourselves
doing. The situation (as we imagine it) would be awkward
at best. Besides, if we decided to try, would we even know
how? Just the thought of coming up with the right words is
enough of a challenge to hold us back.
But what are the consequences of "holding back"? What
might we be missing? What if we could tap into a heavenly
reservoir of power, encouragement, and lasting joy-for ourselves,
our loved ones, and even for our adversaries?
In fact, we can.
A First Blessing
At the close of a recent ministry seminar, a teenager came
up and asked to speak with me. Under court supervision,
she'd had several brushes with the law. I counseled and
prayed with her.
Later she wrote me this note:
"You helped me see my need to give God my will,
but then you also prayed, and in your prayer you
blessed me. That was the first time I had ever been
blessed. That blessing has exhorted me to live up to
what you said. My life has taken a drastic 180-degree
turn! I am amazed by what God actually said
in His Word. I have never had understanding like I
have now when it comes to reading His Word."
She concluded: "The blessing you gave me started all
this, and I don't know how to thank you!"
Our ministry offices receive letter after letter with stories
just like this one. Lives, marriages, and whole families
are experiencing deepening relationships and spiritual
encouragement as we continue to teach the importance of
spoken blessings. On an even deeper level, we've been
receiving accounts of how spoken blessings have overturned
the tormenting memories and oppression of verbal abuse
from the past.
A Grandfather's Curse
Every time Alicia thought about her grandfather, a violent
and painful scene flashed through her mind. Ten years old,
she had been trying to comfort her mother, who had been
severely burned in a house fire. Her grandfather came into
the room and gave Alicia a glare filled with hate and disgust.
He walked over to her, jerked her up from the bed, and
threw her across the room onto a couch.
Still in shock from this assault, Alicia then felt the lash
of his bitter words: "You'll never be good for anything but
to be a-" They were words a ten-year-old mind couldn't
comprehend, but there was no mistaking the hatred and
Why would a grandfather spew out such deadly venom
toward his ten-year-old granddaughter? Because to him, she
represented the shame his daughter had brought upon the
family by giving birth out of wedlock. On top of that,
Alicia's father was from another ethnic group-a fact that
was obvious from the young girl's physical features.
Throughout her childhood and teenage years, Alicia
continued to bear the curses of shame from her mother's
immorality. Each time she was taunted or ridiculed, her
grandfather's painful words blared again in her memory.
Tortured with fears of further rejection, anxieties about her
future began to consume every waking thought. When she
finally married, Alicia brought her emotional turmoil into
this new relationship, often finding herself angry and frustrated
with her husband and children.
Then one day she learned a way to resolve the pain and
rejection of those many past years. It was so simple that she
marveled she hadn't learned about it sooner. It amazed her
husband, too. He noticed that her tone of voice became
more upbeat, and she was no longer harsh with the children.
What did Alicia do? She gave a verbal blessing to that
grandfather who had wounded her so deeply and to the
others who had "cursed" her over the years. And just that
quickly, the awful pain faded from her heart.
A few days later, Alicia had the opportunity to experience
something similar with someone else-this time her
husband's father. She and her husband were talking on the
phone with him, seeking counsel over a situation in their
lives. In the course of the conversation, he responded to
their need with unkind words and names, which devastated
her. Alicia's hands trembled as she hung up the phone. All
the old feelings of hatred and rejection began to well up in
her heart again.
Then she remembered her newfound secret. She lifted
her hand and gave her father-in-law a spoken blessing.
Immediately her trembling stopped, and peace crept back
into her troubled heart.
On the Receiving End
Besides the positive return for those who speak a blessing,
many also testify of remarkable effects in the lives of those
who receive such words.
A single mother had run out of answers on how to deal
with her rebellious teenage son. He tested her patience
beyond its limits and, in the process, stirred up negative
attitudes in the rest of her children.
She saw no end to the confusion and tension. She tried
to reason with him and asked others to counsel him. She
sent him to camps and conferences. But nothing worked.
When she was reminded afresh of the critical need children
have to receive praise, she obtained a book that identifies
and explains several basic character qualities. Searching
through its pages, she couldn't find a single quality that she
could honestly say was evident in her son's life. What she did
see in the book, however, were many qualities that she
believed God wanted to develop within him.
Then she learned about the power of spoken blessings.
One day when her children were battling one another
again, she interrupted them and said to her combative son,
"I want to give you a blessing." He immediately reacted,
stating, "I don't want you to bless me." That did not stop
her. She recalled some of the qualities that she believed God
wanted to cultivate in his life, then said these words in a
spoken blessing: "O Father, would You bless my son with wisdom
and understanding, and with kindness and compassion?
Would You cause him to know Your love and Your peace and
Your joy, in the name of Jesus?"
There was no mockery or sarcastic comeback. The son
only mumbled a response.
At appropriate times, she continued to bless him-and
each of her other children as well. Within a few weeks, her
son's entire attitude changed-as did the atmosphere in her
These remarkable changes in attitude and peace of
mind simply fulfilled the words of the verbal blessing. Do
spoken blessings really make that much difference? And if
they do . why are they so powerful?
That's what this book is about.
Make the Decision
What expectations do you have for this book? What exactly
do you want God to do for you as you read it? Most likely
you're eager for Him to help you become someone whose
life regularly brings words of blessing to others.
If that's true, decide right now to express it in a sincere
prayer to the Lord. Ask Him to put His Holy Spirit fully in
charge of this learning experience for you and to bring
about exactly what He wants to accomplish in your life
through this book.