The other day as I was walking through a store, I happened to sneeze, and a gentleman nearby offered the typical response of “bless you.” This caused me to think about what that common expression actually means—namely, a request for divine favor—and the different ways we can bless others.
First, we can bless people by praying for them, and we should be specific when bringing such petitions to the Lord. General requests like “please bless him” are okay, but they can quickly become rote and devoid of meaning. Try supplications with greater detail. When our prayers are specific, we’ll be more likely to notice God’s answers, and we can share this encouragement with the person we’re praying over.
Second, we can ask God’s favor on events and situations. Of course, He will respond only when these align with His will. For example, it is appropriate to request that the Lord find our worship acceptable (Psalm 19:14) and to ask that He touch those present.
Third, we can bless God. We do this by expressing our praise and thanksgiving for His character and for what He has done (Psalm 104:1). We can also bless the Lord through our obedience, service, and desire to please Him. When we place Him first in our lives, He is honored.
The Lord provides a vast array of good gifts, and the desire for such benefits is normal and universal. In fact, as we yearn for divine blessings, why not apply the Golden Rule as a motivation to bless others—including God Himself—through prayer and service?