By Kelly Rempel, One Hope Canada
God bless you. If you’re like me, you might casually make the comment when someone sneezes. You might hear it in church settings on occasion. But the idea of blessing is one that has great significance when it comes to marking spiritual milestones and sharing the love of Jesus with the next generation.
Recently, the song The Blessing became popular across social media channels. Released by Elevation Worship just as the pandemic was picking up steam, it resonated deeply.
Now there are dozens of versions from various countries, including Canada.
You’ll also want to check out this version featuring children from around the world, and this video, filmed in Hebrew on location in Jerusalem!
What is it about these lyrics that touch us so deeply? They’re based on Scripture from Numbers 6:24-26, Exodus 20:6, Deuteronomy 7:9 and Psalm 103:17-18. It is a prayer for God’s provision and peace. But the middle section is what really made me pause and take notice.
May His favor be upon you
And a thousand generations
And your family and your children
And their children, and their children
May His presence go before you
And behind you, and beside you
All around you, and within you
He is with you, He is with you
In the morning, in the evening
In your coming, and your going
In your weeping, and rejoicing
He is for you, He is for you.
What a beautiful, powerful prayer for our families and our children. It is an awesome reminder that God is faithful generation to generation, as we strive to love and serve Him.
Recently I attended a very special event. Our good friends’ son turned 13, and to mark the occasion, his parents hosted a blessing celebration.
We gathered at a local park. While it had the elements of a party (24 pizzas!) it went much deeper than that.
My friends and their pastor gathered around the newly-minted teenager and spoke words of blessing and encouragement over him. They exhorted him to grow in the love and knowledge and wisdom of God. They prayed over him, and spoke words of blessing over his life now and his future yet to come.
It was beautiful. They ushered this young man into the next stage of life, building on a foundation rooted in Jesus. He moves forward knowing he has a community of faith by his side.
Consider how you can intentionally bless the children in your life. It doesn’t have to be a big celebration. It could be as simple as saying “God bless you.” But as you do, pause for a moment.
Thank God for that child, and for the relationship you have the opportunity to be part of. Pray for the love of Christ to overflow in their lives. Pray for wisdom as you point them to what it means to follow Jesus.
He is for you. He is for them, too. What a blessing.
Ideas for celebrating children’s spiritual milestones (Lifeway)
Read this article on Milestones of Faith (Fuller Youth Institute)
Blessing the Next Generation by Pat Frenner. You can hear Pat talk about her book on this podcast, particularly the section between 2:23 – 14:10 (the rest of the podcast focuses on topics related to home-schooling).
Sing along with this fun version of This Little Light of Mine sung by kidsmin worship leaders from around the world!
Kelly Rempel is the Director of Creative Communications for One Hope Canada.