Prayers and Blessings: How Do They Differ?
One of the kindest gestures an individual can make is to offer prayers for someone in need. Even in the midst of your own struggles, you have to remember someone else is always worse off and can benefit from your heartfelt prayers. You may even want to include an individual or a situation into your prayer for the day on a regular basis. Not only that, but you can request blessings on their behalf.
What Are Blessings?
While prayers and blessings are related, and are often used as interchangeable terms, they are actually slightly different in meaning and purpose. Prayers are petitions we make to God, such as asking for favor or direction in our lives. We can also pray as a means of conversing with God, having daily fellowship with Him, or simply offering our praise and gratitude to Him.
Blessings, on the other hand, represent a special form of prayer or invocation. We typically request God's blessings for His divine favor, protection, or abundant provision for other individuals, as well as ourselves. Biblical stories relate many instances of patriarchs of the faith invoking blessings on their families, and prophets of God asking Him to rain down showers of blessings on His faithful followers.
Many cultures and religions in the world have carried on the tradition of blessings for centuries, and still do today. Many of these blessings are for special occasions, such as births and weddings. The recipients of blessings are not limited to people; many blessings also focus on animals, nature, businesses, and other special objects or areas of life that are important to us.
Another difference between prayers and blessings is that when we pray, we speak directly to God, whereas when we offer blessings, we offer or bestow these special words on other people. When we pray, we work on maintaining or strengthening our relationships with God. When we request blessings for others, or bestow blessings on other people, we acknowledge God's intervention in our lives and His ability to provide for others, as well as ourselves.
God said to pray without ceasing, and to love others as we love ourselves. Offering blessings to and for others is one way to demonstrate our Christian love and fulfill God's greatest commandment.