Blessings of Community
We are called to create communities of Christ’s peace.
Circles of Blessing
Seek blessing for yourself. Sit and breathe quietly. Let the stillness speak to you of your deep need for blessing and God’s deep desire to bless you. Tenderly, reverently repeat these four blessing phrases inwardly, one with each breath, over and over:
May I be healthy and well.
May I feel safe and happy,
May I be filled with loving kindness,
May I be radiant with the joy of Christ.
Taste the wholeness of body, mind, heart and spirit you seek. Feel the possibilities of well-being. Then, as you experience the truth of God blessing you, extend the prayer outward in rippling circles of blessing. Use the same phrases for everyone! It will help you connect to the truth that we are all children of God who yearn for wholeness.
Bless someone who loves you. Bring to mind someone you deeply respect, someone who has befriended or mentored you, someone who has loved you unreservedly. (Do not choose someone, such as a spouse or parent, with whom you have an emotionally or physically complex relationship). Repeat the same phrases you used for yourself, directed now toward her or him.
May she be healthy and well.
May she feel safe and happy.
May she be filled with loving kindness.
May she be radiant with joy.
With gratitude, open yourself to the gift of that person’s life.
Bless someone you love. Next, use the same phrases to invoke a circle of blessing for a close loved one or a dear friend. Hold your friend as tenderly as you possibly can in your imagination and heart, knowing God’s embrace is even more tender and caring than your own. Release your desire for that person’s well-being to God and bless someone else. With each circle God’s love is expanding and filling the world with blessing.
Bless someone you know. Expand the pulse of blessing by repeating the same phrases for someone who is not close to you: perhaps a work colleague, a neighbor, a church member that you don’t know well. Try to maintain the same quiet fervor of desire that this person might be just as blessed as anyone that you personally love.
Bless someone difficult. If you are ready, and only if it feels safe, try blessing someone who is difficult for you. It might be someone who has hurt you or someone who thinks or acts out of a different set of values than you do. A word of caution. In the beginning do not try to extend this prayer to someone who has hurt you deeply. Get plenty of practice blessing those who casually annoy you before trying to bless someone who has shattered your life!
Bless all people. As the circles of blessing expand they encompass wider groups of people. Hold everyone in your congregation up for blessing, or everyone in Community of Christ; all those who are poor and all those who are rich; all those who are suffering and all those who are joyous; all men, women and children, regardless of faith tradition. Bless all six billion people across the globe.
Bless all creation. Include non-human creatures in your blessings, animals and plants in the seas, rivers, oceans, mountains, valleys and deserts of the world. Bless the whole Earth which, even now, “groans” under the burden of supplying clean air, fresh water, nourishing food, warm clothes, and rich resources to so many.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul.” When the energy of prayer is spent, the blessings of grace fully released, come back to the inner place from which well-being extends in ripples of blessing. Thank the Holy One who is the source of these blessings as you end this season of prayer. Bless God who richly blesses you.
Circles of Blessing Prayers submitted by Laurie Gordon
Intercessory Prayer for the Needs of the Community
“O May Your Church Build Bridges” CCS 224
Community blesses us and is supported and sustained through the prayerful blessings we offer for and with one another. Spend time listening to the needs of those in the various circles of community in your life. Pray for those people and needs with one of the intercessory prayer forms in the following meditation.
We can pray for others with words, images, body gestures, or in loving silence. Center your thoughts on God and calm your breathing. Ask for guidance to choose one or more of the following ways to pray for others:
Speak or write a prayer in response to the impress of the Spirit on your mind or heart.
Silently place the person into divine care and grace; trust God to bless and heal in the ways that are needed.
Visualize the person held, surrounded, and blessed by God’s light.
Light a candle while praying silently or verbally for the person.
Create a bowl or chalice (cup) with your hands. Imagine you hold particular people and needs in the container. See and feel their concerns. Lift the prayer bowl or chalice to God and release the needs and people to God as you open your hands.
Action: Schedule a time each day or each week to engage in prayer community-focused spiritual practices.
Keywords: Personal, Spiritual, Practice, community, meditation, prayer
“Morning Has Broken” CCS 143
At a sunrise service, wait for the dawn in contemplative silence. Sound a chime when the sun arcs above the horizon. Feel or imagine the warmth of the sun. Imagine it is the face of God shining on you, with a blessing. What blessing would be most helpful to you today?
Action: Take the idea of blessing with you throughout the day. Write down what you experience and how you feel at various times in the day. Based on your notes and feelings, what blessing would be most helpful to you tomorrow? Is it the same as today’s or different?