by Linda Veath

GraphicStock

Benedictions are a common part of worship. They can close the service or be used after the sermon, Communion, a Baptism or Confirmation. It is sometimes easy to miss the power in these short blessings.

The word benediction means “to say good, to voice good thoughts.” It’s a pronouncement of divine blessing given in the Bible, usually a short, concise prayer. A prayer assuring the congregation of God’s presence, pardon, protection and peace.

The most common benediction, used mainly at the end of the service, is found in Numbers 6:24-26 NIV.

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.

A former pastor at my church almost always ended his sermons with Philippians 4:7 NIV:

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, … guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 13:14 NIV is a common end-of-Communion benediction.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

And the following are a few more examples from the Bible:

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18 NIV

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus. Romans 15:5-6 NIV

The Lord will keep you from all harm—He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going, both now and forevermore. ~ Psalm 121:7-8 NIV

As you can see from these verses, benedictions call for unity, faith, and joy among believers. They bring us encouragement and even commitment to God. Meditating on the various benedictions during a “quiet time” is a soothing balm which deepens the spirit, heals an aching heart, strengthens the faltering soul.

Saying a benediction over another person is a beautiful privilege and a gift from God. Spend some time this week meditating on some of the benedictions in the Bible. And in your next worship service, may you see the power and the love flowing from the benedictions you hear.