A Blessing for Every Occasion

If you’ve read my article, “Learning from Jesus’ Jewish Prayer Life,” you know the richness of the Jewish pattern of prayer that encourages a person to “bless the Lord” at all times.

Playing in the rainBelow I’ve put a list of some of the many blessings that are traditionally said on all sorts of occasions. (You can also find this list at the back of Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus.) A blessing (berakhah – bear-a-KHAH or BRAH-khah) is a brief “prayerlet” that reminds you to stop and praise God for every good thing.

I don’t think a person needs to worry about the exact words, but I like knowing what they are. The creativity behind them inspires me to invent some of my own.

Since about 400 AD, prayers of blessing have always started with the words, “Blessed are you, Lord our God, king of the universe…” In the first century they were much shorter, simply beginning with the words “Blessed is he…” The first book of the Mishnah, Berakhot, lists dozens of blessings and when they were used. Below are some of them in the form they would have had in the first century. Many of them quote from Psalms or other scriptures.

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When you first open your eyes in the morning you say,

Blessed is he who gives sight to the blind.

When getting out of bed you say,

Blessed is he who sets the captives free.

When putting on clothes you say,

Blessed is he who clothes the naked.

When putting on your shoes you say,

Blessed is he who provides for all my needs.

When you eat a meal where bread is at the table, you hold up the bread and say,

Blessed is he who brings forth bread from the earth.

When you eat a festive meal where wine is served, you say,

Blessed is he, creator of the fruit of the vine.

When you eat other types of food you say,

Blessed is he through whose word all things come to exist.

(There are several other specific blessings for various kinds of food.)

When you see the first budding tree in springtime you say,

Blessed is he who did not omit anything from the world, and created within it good creations and good trees for people to enjoy!

When you see lightning, falling stars, lofty mountains, great deserts, or the sky in all its beauty you say,

Blessed is he who has made the creation.

When you hear thunder or feel an earthquake, you say,

Blessed is he whose strength and power fill the world.

When you see a beautiful person, animal or tree, you say,

Blessed is he who has such as these in the world.

When you see a friend after a year’s separation, you say,

            Blessed is he who revives the dead.

When it rains (or something else good happens) you say,

Blessed is he who is good and gives good things!

When something terrible happens you say,

Blessed is he who is the true judge.

When you are saved from an accident or serious illness, you say,

Blessed is he who does good to the undeserving and has rendered every kindness to me!

When you encounter a place where God has done a miracle, you say,

Blessed is he who has done miracles in this place.

When you’ve reached some long awaited joyous occasion, you say,

Blessed is he who has given us life,
and preserved us, and brought us to this season.

65th-anniversary-kiss

~~~

Comments

6 Responses to “A Blessing for Every Occasion”

  1. 1
    Megan|March 7, 2014

    I like how in the article she was mentioning how we need to thank and give praise to God for everything good thing that happens to us in our lives everyday. A good thing can vary from something big like getting accepted into the college you wanted or receiving a hello from a neighbor who lives next door. We wouldn’t have anything if it wasn’t for God, everything that we have is a gift from Him. Another thing I found interesting that was mentioned in this article was that prayers of blessing always started with, “Blessed are you, Lord our God, king of the universe…” every since 400 AD. Today we still tend to start prayers of blessing with, “Blessed is he…”.

  2. 2
    Katrina Genzink|March 7, 2014

    Reading the Berakhot prayers in the book of Mishnah is a good reminder that in everything we do we should give thanks to God. We take for granted things like waking up in the morning, putting on your clothes and shoes for the day, having enough food for every meal, and seeing the beauty of the things God created. It should become part of our lives to give thanks to God for every thing he has provided us with. Those living in 400 A.D. are great examples to us in how we should give thanks and praise God for everything. I also love how it starts with “Blessed are you…” or “Blessed is he…”.

  3. 3
    Morgan|March 7, 2014

    Dr. Tverberg
    What I enjoyed about this article is that reminder of we can praise God for everything. The examples you listed of what we can be thankful for, is a helpful reminder of the blessing we have. I really enjoyed the opening to all the thankful moments with the “Blessed is he”. I don’t think it is necessary to stop everyday and thank God for everything. Sometimes we can be more thankful when we loose those things we were thankful for. I do think we need to notice those small things we do have more often and be thankful for them. For example warmth, shoes, and good health. You never know when it can be taken away from you.

  4. 4
    Emily|March 9, 2014

    I love how there is a blessing for almost everything. If I were to say these blessings each time I did these activities, I would be constantly reminded of how truly blessed I am. Every breath I breathe is a gift from God, and so often it is forgotten. Even through pain and hardships these blessings can remind us of all the positive things we do have. In today’s culture it is so easy to focus on the negatives, when in reality, the positives far outstretch the negatives.

  5. 5
    Jenna S|March 11, 2014

    This is a beautiful post and a great reminder. So often I find myself coming to God when times are hard and it is so easy to ask him to help me. Although this is good, I need to realize all the many blessings that I have in my life, even when times are hard. There are so many blessings in this prayer for things that I wouldn’t have even thought about. The one blessings that stands out to be is “When you are saved from an accident or serious illness, you say,
    Blessed is he who does good to the undeserving and has rendered every kindness to me!”. I like this blessings because it is during these times that we so often cry out to God for his help and forget to thank him for what he is doing in our lives. This past November I went through some unexpected medical issues that resulted in a surprise surgery. It was a scary time and I asked God for so many things, but I realized I so often forgot to thank him. This blessing is important to me, and everyday that I wake up healthy and strong I will remember this blessing, and for the days when Im not feeling so great, I will still bless him for giving me another day and so much more. Thank you for this post, it is an inspiration and I will be sure to keep these blessings somewhere safe where I think of them often and am able to remind my self to be thankful.

  6. 6
    Renee|March 11, 2014

    This article is a great reminder of all of the blessings we have received from God. So often it is so easy to focus on the bad things and life and forget to thank God for all of the many blessings he has given to us. It is important to be able to bless the Lord at all times because our life circumstances and situations will inevitably change, but we must learn to praise the Lord at all times because he is the one thing in life that is always constant. I believe that this type of prayer is very helpful because it reminds us of how great and faithful God is. I think that everyone would benefit from saying a prayer like this to God every once in a while.

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