(The following is an excerpt from chapter 15 of my new book, Blessed to Be a Blessing…)
Blessed to be a blessing. I’ve been hinting at this concept throughout this book. But what does it mean? How can I bless others?
To be sure, I’ll bless others when my inner character begins to reflect the righteousness of Christ. When I no longer live like the Gentile I was, everyone around me will be blessed.
The problem is, I can’t seem to live like that every day. How about you?
To be sure, as I put on the Word of God as armor, completely protecting my mind and body, I will be prepared to be a blessing to others.
But just because Bible verses are in my mind doesn’t mean I’ll know how to get them out when someone else needs them. Does that ever happen to you?
The fact is, we’ve truly been “blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ… [and chosen] in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight” (Ephesians 1:3-4).
Why were we blessed?
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
But it would be very tempting for us to take God’s blessings, which we received only because of Jesus our Redeemer and not because of our own merit, and try to bless the world in our own power, somehow thinking that now we are able to bless them all on our own.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
My husband has been trying to tell me this for years! We can only bless others through prayer, by coming to God and acknowledging that we have no power of our own and that we need Him!
We aren’t eloquent enough to change people.
We aren’t righteous enough to influence people.
We aren’t good enough to bless people.
“…not by works, so that no one can boast.”
So Paul concludes the book of Ephesians with the secret of blessing others:
“Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
Did you see it?
• All occasions.
• All kinds of prayers and requests.
• For all the saints [or those “set apart” by God, the called ones, the ecclesia].
Praying in the Spirit, in His power, is not only the secret to blessing others – it’s the only way to bless others.
Prayer is acknowledging my own lack of power and begging God’s Spirit to move through my life.
Prayer shows God that I understand His wonderful, magnificent, mysterious plan – and asks Him to please use my life as a tiny part of that plan.
The best part? I might be the mother of busy toddlers, unable to get involved in great “ministries” of my church, yet I can pray.
I might be sick with cancer on my deathbed, yet I can pray.
I might not be able to enter foreign countries as a missionary, yet I can pray.
In fact, “yet I can pray” doesn’t even describe it. “I must pray first and, above all else, continue to pray” would be a lot better way to say it.
The early believers in the book of Acts met daily in the temple for set times of prayer. Eventually, they were restricted from temple prayers because they freely preached Jesus as Messiah. However, having times of set prayer each day is still a good habit. Specific prayers (such as the prayer from Ephesians 3:14-21 that we looked at in chapter 6) and prayer lists are excellent tools.
Yet Jesus Himself prayed much more than at just set times. He spent entire nights in prayer, especially before and after His heavenly Father moved mightily through His life. His example always convicts me of my great lack in this area.
My entire life must be bathed in prayer if I want to be a blessing to others. However, Paul does ask his dear Ephesian believers for one specific request:
“Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should” (Ephesians 6:19-20).
As important as good deeds are, we must “open our mouths,” using “words… declared fearlessly,” making known the mystery of the gospel.
Words are necessary. Yet Paul was sitting in a Roman prison because he had used words to preach the gospel. He admits that, sometimes, even he was afraid to open his mouth. I can certainly relate to that!
If you want to be a blessing to others, making known the “mystery of the gospel” (that God has chosen us and called us out to receive His great love and salvation), then it will take prayer.
Prayer is the key.
And you need to pray for your brother-and-sister “saints,” those who are “ambassadors” with you in this fight. You stand as warriors together, fearlessly charging against spiritual enemies – but only in the power of the Spirit through prayer.
Are your prayer meetings lifeless? Is it because none of you really believe in the necessity of prayer? Do you still feel capable of blessing others without any assistance from God’s Spirit?
No, this battle is only fought through prayer.
“With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying…” (Ephesians 6:18).
LET’S GET PRACTICAL…
1. How is your prayer life? When I hear this question asked, I most often think of “set times” of daily and weekly prayer. This isn’t bad! Do you have “set times” in your schedule to pray, both privately and with fellow believers? Do you even have “set prayers” which you can pray? Begin to search your Bible for examples of prayers, possibly recording them in a journal so that they are available for use in your “set times” each day.
2. Is God convicting you of any areas where you’ve been attempting to bless others through your own power, without asking for His help through prayer?
3. Who can you pray for, especially for those who are fearlessly speaking the “mystery of the gospel”? In our home, we have a small basket that contains cards with the names and pictures of missionaries, pastors, and other friends who daily give their lives to tell others about Jesus. We pray for them at breakfast each day, rotating through the stack of cards. What other steps can you take to lift these “saints” up in prayer?
P.S. Blessed to Be a Blessing is now available as both an instant-download e-book and as a paperback. Read more…