Bless You! (even if you haven’t sneezed)

A Public Prayer Post

A Public Prayer Post

How do you feel about praying for strangers? I bet you already have in some fashion even it was just to add to the chorus of “Bless you’s” when a random passer-by sneezed in your midst.

You might have taken it a notch further by praying for a friend-of-a-friend. Has one of your Facebook friends/work colleagues ever asked you to say a prayer for someone they know but you don’t? Easy to say a quick prayer and pretty safe too as you are usually in the privacy of your home doing the praying.

I am actually in a profession when I get paid to pray for strangers in my role of hospital chaplain. Of course, I’m wearing a badge and they know why I’m there but it is one of the big attractions of the job for me. I’m confident some of the patients I see have never had anyone pray for them by name in their presence until our brief encounter.

Years ago I read about a practice of the famous preacher, Norman Vincent Peale, who made it a habit to silently bless everyone he encountered in his daily round. The grocery clerk, receptionist, street vendor, taxi driver, all got a quick blessing.

I thought about that over the weekend when I noticed a few wedding parties getting photographed at a retreat venue. I offered a quick prayer of blessing on their marriage and carried on with my walk. Nothing long but a real blessing, not like the sneeze kind.

Today on my home from the train I passed by a very weary looking woman sitting on a bench. My greeting was verbal but my prayer was silent. Both took about the same about of time.

So I’m going to keep it up for a while. Maybe not to everyone but to those who look like they could use a blessing. Want to join me?

And to you dear reader…

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26 New International Version (NIV)

Hope for the best,


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