The posture of blessing (Five Minute Friday)

I remember the bishop’s hands were warm on my head when he prayed. I was kneeling on the squeaky Anglican prayer cushions, aged thirteen, ready to have my commitment to Christ confirmed. It was not as if it made any difference in the heavenly realms, I had told myself. It was Jesus who saved me, not some ritual or prayer.

But I felt a warmth run right through my body, an electric energy, as he prayed, and I received.

That is the only way to be blessed – kneeling, receiving – not necessarily literally, but figuratively.

This is how we come to God: as children, as needy people, hands open, on our knees. It is not a posture we take very often; we wish to be seen as capable, strong, independent. But it is the only way to receive blessing – to have both hands out in surrender to catch it.

Whenever I get squirrely and anxious about my life and illness, I stop and wonder – have I knelt recently? Has my heart knelt before God recently? It is a hard posture for us to take.

Sometimes God blesses us anyway, because God is good. And it can feel risky to ask for blessing if we have experienced so much disappointment in the past. But everything good in life requires some kind of risk. If we don’t ask, are we aware that we’ve received?

As I lie in bed today, I remember: it is so much richer when I stop, and swallow my pride, and consciously ask, from a position of vulnerabllty and weakness: Lord, would you bless me?

 

“13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.” Mark 10:13-16, NIV via Bible Gateway

Over to you: 

  • When did you last feel like you received some kind of blessing from God?
  • How easy do you find it to adopt a posture of blessing?

 

I’ve been slack on here recently as I’ve been working on the edits to my book on waiting – exploring the journey of four Bible characters as they wrestle with the weight of waiting. But the Five Minute Friday blog linkup gives writers a chance to free-write, like you freewheel a bike. This was my best five minutes on ‘Blessing’. Look out for my Book Reviews May/June – there’s a bumper lot coming! And if you’re new here, be sure to download your free copy of my book, Coming Back to God When You Feel Empty: Whispers of Restoration from the Book of Ruth.

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25 Responses to The posture of blessing (Five Minute Friday)

  1. Richard Williams 4th August, 2017 at 1:32 pm #

    I get this totally! I used to find kneeling very hard, not physically but emotionally. I think it because, as you say, kneeling is a posture of submission (at least in Western culture) and we’re taught to be strong, assertive, straight-backed and upright etc.

    But recently, my best times of prayer and ministry have been on my knees before God. I know there’s no magic involved, brought on by a particular bodily position. But the further I walk with my Father, the more I realise it’s about your intention – what’s on your heart.

    Physically kneeling for me is a way of humbling myself before God and ensuring that my prayers have the right “attitude” about them. A physical recognition that I am kneeling before his throne. But not everyone can actually kneel and that’s why I love your expression “has my heart knelt before God recently”. The inward attitude being so much more important that the outward physical act.

    • Tanya 19th August, 2017 at 9:21 pm #

      Hi Richard! Great to see you here! I do definitely agree with you that there’s something about changing our bodies that often makes our hearts follow in response, which is why liturgy has been so associated with movement, I guess. i can relate to that struggle with adopting a position of surrender or weakness or submission, and agree that we’re taught to be strong and assertive. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

  2. Rebecka 9th July, 2017 at 3:13 pm #

    Oh, this broke my heart in the very best way. I was blessed by this post. Thank you, Tanya.
    I actually thought about this the other day. I asked the Lord for something and felt I got an answer almost immediately, but now I can’t for the life of me remember what it was all about! Ha!

    • Tanya 19th August, 2017 at 9:07 pm #

      Love you LOADS!

      • Rebecka 20th August, 2017 at 3:02 pm #

        And I love you!

  3. Stephanie Thompson 6th July, 2017 at 2:40 am #

    Tanya, I appreciate the focus on the posture in this post. It helped me visualize the humility involved in asking for the blessing. “But it is the only way to receive blessing – to have both hands out in surrender to catch it.” I think it’s so easy to feel as if we are selfish for asking. But I am reminded of Luke 11:11-12.

    • Tanya 19th August, 2017 at 9:04 pm #

      oh Yes! Luke 11! I’m so glad the posture thing helped – it really helps me with theology to be able to visualise something or other, to make the abstract concrete. So glad it spoke to you, too

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