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.
Below 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.
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.