A person could be forgiven for thinking that someone who has been studying the Bible for 20, 40, or 50 years already knows everything there is to know. But I can assure you, this is not actually the case. One of the delights of participating in group Bible study is that it always leads to the learning of something new. We learn from each other, we learn as the Holy Spirit leads us to discover insights and meanings previously unknown to us, and we learn from the authors of books and study guides. We learn not only about the scripture, but about the spiritual practices that have been helpful to other Christians in the recent and distant past.
The current Bible study class on offer at Rolling Hills UMC called, “The God We Can Know,” has, among other new learnings, brought to my attention a strategy on how to pray for others. Pastor and author Rob Fuquay included this intercessory prayer method in the curriculum material he assembled for the course on the “I AM” sayings of Jesus, but reports he learned it from “Love to Pray” by Dr. Alvin VanderGriend, The new-to-me strategy of praying is called the B-L-E-S-S model. The letters in the acronym stand for Body, Labors, Emotional, Social, and Spiritual. Here’s how Rob explains it:
Body: We pray for the person’s physical needs to be met. This could include praying for healing, release from addiction, and freedom from unhelpful habits.
Labors: We ask God to help the person with the tasks that fill their days.
Emotional: We pray for the person’s emotional needs to be met. We ask peace, hope, assurance, comfort, and other healthy possibilities.
Social: We pray for the person’s relationships at work and at home; we pray that they enjoy friendship and family or community support.
Spiritual: We pray for the person’s spiritual life, asking that they are able to respond to God’s shaping work. We visualize them as held in the light of Christ, or being filled and guided by the Holy Spirit.
The intent of our prayer is to be a blessing to others. We do not assume we know what they need, but we are confident that God knows and will respond. I am glad to be introduced to this strategy, and am looking forward to putting it into practice. The Bible study class meets three more times (Oct. 5/6; Oct. 12/13; Oct. 19/20, chose Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. or Thursday at 10:30 a.m.). You are still welcome to come and take part!
Blessings to all,