One thing that the Lord has been teaching Jamie and I lately is the importance of praising Him and thanking Him. As we getting closer every day to leaving for the mission field, I realized that I am praying significantly more than I used to. However, my prayers have been consumed with requests, struggles and questions. “Lord, please raise up partners for your ministry…Please comfort me during this time…Where should I be focusing my time and energy?” God has constantly been drawing me back to the phrase “Bless the Lord.”
“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; who pardons all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases; who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with loving-kindness and compassion, who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.” Psalm 103:1-5
Most of my prayers over the years have been built around my desire for blessings. Blessings are not just limited to material goods. I want to be blessed with an abundance of money so that it will never again be a concern. I want to be blessed with certainty of future plans knowing exactly where we will end up going so that I can plan and prepare. I want to be blessed with constant comfort so that the stresses of life won’t get to me. Most of my life I have prayed because I wanted to be blessed. More than anything else I have wanted Him to pour out His goodness on me, and thus I spent my time asking Him to.
So when I heard the Psalmist’s words ring out, “Bless the Lord”, I was a little confused. My understanding of the word bless has been limited to blessings. For example, “The Lord blessed us by pouring out blessings on us.” I couldn't comprehend what it meant to bless God. Looking into to it revealed that our word blessings is related to the Hebrew word berakah which means a gift or present. Our word bless is related to a barak which can be translated as bless or kneel. “Bless the Lord” is the image of a man kneeling in awe and respect while singing praises to God.
A blessing Jamie and I have recently received is that our prayer cards were printed for free. Jamie contacted a printing company she deals with at work to ask for a price quote for printing our cards. She sent an email with our prayer card template and told them she appreciates working with them and that the material they printed for her work had generated a lot of business. The next day the owner of the company emailed her back saying they would love to use her quote for marketing and would print our prayer cards for free. God is good. Free prayer cards are something I never would have even thought of asking for, but God provided it. All we can do in this situation is bless His name. Thank you, Lord, for being a good God. May we make it a priority daily to bless Your name first and foremost.
Matt Redman - 10,000 Reasons