Bless the Lord!
Psa. 103:1 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name.
Psa. 103:2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and do not forget all his benefits—
Psa. 103:3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
Psa. 103:4 who redeems your life from the Pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
Psa. 103:5 who satisfies you with good as long as you live
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
There are times when when praise comes bubbling out of the Psalmist. He wants to bless the Lord for all the good things that he has done — and all that is within him is bursting with praise.
This praise for the Lord is in the form of blessing. Notice he is singing a blessing to the Lord. May the Lord be the one who is blessed and may all that is within him bless the Lord!
Did you know that “saying the blessing” before eating used to be a prayer of blessing to the Lord? This was a moment to stop and bless the Lord, praising him for all that he has done for us and all that he has provided for us.
But something has happened to that prayer of blessing. When did we start asking God to bless the food? Something has turned around and the recipient of the blessing has shifted from God to us. Instead of us pouring out our blessing upon the Lord, the one whose benefits we are not to forget — we ask him to bless the food and the hands that prepared it! While this sounds good, the shift in focus is quite radical.
The Psalmist blesses the Lord and wants to remember all the Lord has provided and done for us.
He forgives our sins.
He provides healing.
He brings about transformation.
He fills us with his love to overflowing.
He satisfies our needs.
And yet all of this can be forgotten when the focus of blessing is not on the One who provides, but upon us.
I’m sure that the change in prayer was not something overtly intentional but the shift from blessing the Lord to asking him to bless us really does change the way in which we look at God and prayer. This is the Psalmist’s prayer of blessing and the entire focus is on God. What would happen if we intentionally reversed the way in which we “pray the blessing” and blessed God?
Lord, I bless you for who you are and all that you provide. Amen.