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House Blessing

03.24.16 | Missional Community , Life on Mission | by JD Larson

    What is the spiritual atmosphere of your home? I don’t mean whether people in your home believe in Jesus or not, though that’s an important question. I mean when you enter your home -- is the space one  of peace, grace, and comfort? Does your experience of being in your home feel like it echoes/mirrors Jesus’ description of the Kingdom of God?

    It is clear from scripture that God desires for our homes to be a place where both we and others experience the goodness of His Kingdom. It is also clear that we have a role to play in making that a reality.

    One of the practical ways we can participate with God as he brings His Kingdom near is through house blessings.

    Open Heart - Open Home (OHOH) is a Mill City Missional Community focused on hospitality. One of the ways they feel called to equip our community is by facilitating house blessings.

    This post describes what they have learned and how you can practice a house blessing in your home.

    What is a house blessing?

    Typically house blessings happen when you are moving into a house, but they can happen at any point. Blessing a house can involve many people or just a few people. The key is that this is not an event where people come to pray for your house: they come to pray with you over your house. The intention is for people in your network to come alongside you in seeking God’s blessing for the space, that His Kingdom would come in your home.

    What is happening in a house blessing?

    Most prayers of blessings start with the word “may” (ex: Numbers 6:24-27). The word “may” communicates both a request and declaration of the  spiritual reality taking place. Speech is an action, like when a pastor says “I now pronounce you man and wife” at a wedding, or when a judge says “I sentence you to 20 years.” Words can change reality. When we are praying prayers of blessing, we are (1) living out of the authority given to us as children of God in the name of Jesus, and (2) out of that authority, participating in God’s work to bring His Kingdom reality to our world.

    Prayer doesn’t just change us, it changes the world around us. This is a great mystery, but if you look at Jesus’ life, it is clear that Jesus was teaching us how use prayer to participate in God’s Kingdom coming (healing the sick, liberating others from demonic oppression, offering forgiveness, etc.).

    When you pray, “May this house be a place of peace,” you are not simply wishing that peace would come; you are participating with the Holy Spirit in bringing peace to that place. The Bible talks about this mystery in metaphor when it speaks of our prayers being a sort of fragrance to God and to others.

    When we bless a house, we are not just naming what we hope for we are participating in God’s action to make it so. I’m personally convinced of this, as is OHOH, simply based off of the many stories we have heard of people being able to tell a difference in their house after praying prayers of blessings over it.

    How do I host a house blessing?

    A house blessing typically has two simple elements: party and prayer.

    PARTY

    For some reason, when we think of house blessing, we’re tempted to think of it as somber, contemplative, and serious. Not so! Why wouldn’t the event embody the reality you are trusting God to create through your blessing? Have fun, welcome people into your home, break bread together (or cupcakes!). Invite the people who you want to be a part of your broader “family” -- the people who are ‘for you,’ the people who will do life in and out of this house, the people who you’ll have movie nights with, the people who are going to watch your kids when you need a date night, or the friends that will come over for a movie marathon.

    Tip: Remember, hospitality is not entertainment. Don’t stress about having the perfect party; that would be a stressful adventure in missing the point. Simply invite people into your home, and invite them to participate in creating a party atmosphere with you (i.e. potluck style).   

    PRAY

    When it is time to pray, go from room to room as a group (or if it is a large group, split up into smaller groups). Pause in each room to pray. There’s no right or wrong formula for praying blessing over a space, but here are three ways to approach blessing a room:

    Let the Lord’s prayer guide you:

    “This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” - Matthew 6:9-13

    The Lord’s prayer has six elements: naming God’s character, then seeking God’s Kingdom, provision, forgiveness, guidance, and protection. These six elements of how Jesus taught us to pray can guide how people pray with you to bless your house. You can each individually pray through each element, or cover all six as a group.

    Here is an example for your dining room (remember, we often say “may” for prayers of blessing):

    “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you are a God of hospitality. You welcome the broken into your Kingdom with grace. May it be the same in this dining room. God, may this table be a table where your Kingdom comes and your will is done. We know in your Kingdom there is peace, grace, and forgiveness at the table; may it be the same at this table. God, may this table be an abundant table; may you supernaturally provide for every need…”

    This can be continued through the list to include forgiveness, guidance, protection, etc.

    Create space to listen to God before praying:

    Incorporate a minute or so of silence before people start praying over rooms. This allows space for God to shape the blessing. Invite people to ask God for words, scriptures, or images to pray over the space. It is pretty amazing what God does when a group creates space to listen to him; it shapes the prayer time in unique ways.

    Pray historic prayers of blessing over spaces:

    Numbers 6:24-26 is a classic scriptural blessing. God instructs Moses to pray this over israel:

    "May The Lord bless you 

    and keep you; 

    May the Lord make his face shine on you 

    and be gracious to you; 

    May the Lord turn his face toward you 

    and give you peace." - Numbers 6:24-26

     

    Simply use this prayer as a guide, and fill in more detail about the space you are blessing (ex: specific people if it is their room).

    Here is another example of a classic house blessing:

    May the Lord bless this house and make it home full of generous welcome for all who visit. Brimming with warmth and contentment for family and friends, overflowing with hospitality and nourishing provision. May it be a haven for safety and peace in night and day, and a place of refreshment. Make it a place of growth and happiness. May the Lord bless this house and make it home filled with His love amen.

     

    Again, there is no set formula for a house blessing, Use these tools to guide whatever experience feels most appropriate for your home.

    Additional Elements:

    Gifts: Sometimes house blessings involved the giving of gifts. Usually these gifts are symbolic of things being prayed over the house. People might give a cross or some other symbol of God’s leadership of the household.

    Spiritual Warfare: When praying for protection over a house, it is important to be aware that, as the Lord’s prayer states, there is a real enemy that is opposed to what you are doing. Invoking the name of Jesus to claim spiritual authority over the space is encouraged. For more on spiritual warfare, watch Dr. Paul Eddy’s training on spiritual warfare.

    WATCH

    Anointing with oil: There are examples in scriptures of people anointing other people and places with oil as a physical demonstration of the blessing being prayed over a space. Usually if this occurs, oil is placed above the doorframe of each room. There’s no hocus-pocus involved; this is simply a way to add a physical element to what is being prayed for to enhance the meaning.

    Additional Resources:

    Please contact OHOH Missional Community If you would like to host a house blessing for your home. They are ready and equipped to come alongside you in this practice.

    Here are lists of prayers and scripture you can use in blessing your home: everyone, families

    Living-prayers.com

     

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