It’s always that season, isn’t it? You know the one … doing all the things, kids’ sports, church responsibilities, home/self-care, work. But…It. Never. Ends.
As we’re nearing the end of the thanks-giving month, I want to do this day differently, and just maybe, every other day of the coming year too. I want to slow down, live in the awareness of who God is and savor the intimacy of my Savior. Will you join me for brakha and kavanah?
In Hebrew, there is a concept of thanks-giving through prayer called brakha. This word, in its most straightforward form, means blessing. It can also mean kneeling, as in humbly submitting ourselves before God. The meaning behind this word is more encompassing than the phrase we toss around, “Have a blessed day!”
In the West, we understand it as a verb, ‘bestowing favor on someone.’ In Hebrew, it’s an adjective, describing an acknowledgment that God is the origin of all blessings. Every day, all day, sprinkled throughout the chaotic pace of life, brakha acknowledges God and thanks Him for every part of existence. Could Paul have been referring to this discipline in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18? “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances…”
Many of the daily prayers are recitations of Scripture, hemming in all of life. This disciplined style of prayer cultivates kavanah, a deep awareness of God’s presence and consuming love in every facet of life, from the seemingly insignificant to the momentous.
Spangler and Tverberg, in their book Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus, say, “The habit of continually blessing God teaches us to be ever mindful of how much God loves us and how continually he cares for us.” Intentionally moving through life with brakha acknowledges and thanks God for every encounter and keeps our focus on Him, not on our emotions, our circumstances or our pain.
How might we brakha each day in thanks-giving, whether in plenty or in pain?
Blessed are you, Lord our God who … … fights for us. (Exodus 14:14) … gives the weary strength and power. (Isaiah 40:29) … grants wisdom to those who ask. (James 1:5) … goes before us and will not leave us. (Deuteronomy 31:8) … provides everything we need through Christ. (Philippians 4:19) In what ways are brakha and kavanah going to change your year-round, daily thanks- giving?