Have you ever had to say good-bye to a dear friend? Perhaps he or she was moving to another place and, despite promises to “stay in touch,” you know that your relationship will never be the same. Distance makes for difficulty. You will no longer have daily or weekly interaction—sharing the mundane, the ups and downs, the highs and lows. There just isn’t the same intensity or intimacy.
When it’s time to say good-bye, perhaps these words will help. With Christian friends especially, you know that they go with God. The words of this prayer of blessing give you all the words to say at a time when words may be hard to find.
The Lord Himself gave this blessing to Moses to pass along to Aaron, the high priest of Israel. The Lord told Moses, “This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel.” A blessing is a way of asking for God’s divine favor on behalf of another. When you pray such a prayer for your friends, you offer great encouragement, for these words were given by God Himself.
Ask the Lord to go with your friends and “bless” them. For the ancient Israelites, “blessing” emphasized God’s care through giving His people prosperity. The phrase “the LORD bless you” originally meant the granting of material well-being. In the context it meant good crops, bountiful herds, seasonable weather, and military strength. Ask that God would bless your friends with prosperity in their new endeavors. Ask that His divine favor would rest on them and that they would sense that blessing from on high.
When you go to the Father in prayer, there is a code you can use that will give you immediate access into God’s presence. This code is the name Jesus.
—Ronnie W. Floyd
Ask the Lord to “keep” your friends. This alludes to God’s protection both from material disaster and, more especially, from evil. It is difficult to let our friends go; somehow we think that we can protect them if they stay close. However, they go in God’s hands, called by Him to a new place, a new task, a new service. So put them back into God’s hands, praying for His “keeping.”
Pray for them to have a sense of God’s grace. Change is never easy; being called by God doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t be painful to leave the familiar for the unfamiliar. Pray that the Lord will “make His face shine” upon them, and pray that they will see His face and sense His pleasure as they follow His will for them. As they look to God, may they see His forgiving, unconditional love inviting them to come close. May they sense His grace upon them.
The third part of this prayer emphasizes the gift of God’s presence. Praying that God will “lift up His countenance” is more than the sight of a shining face. It is the impression of the divine Spirit’s presence with them. It is to experience the nearness of God. It is the blessing of communion of spirit with Spirit. God’s indwelling brings peace of heart and mind. Pray for them to feel God’s presence and peace.
Good-byes can be a time of blessing—for everyone. For when we go with God, we’re never far apart.
Father, it’s hard to say good-bye. I don’t want to lose the close fellowship I have with these friends. I pray that You will bless and keep them. May they find success and joy in their new endeavors. Make Your face shine upon them and be gracious to them, that they will sense Your pleasure with them as they follow Your will. Lift up Your countenance upon them and give them peace. Even though it is difficult, Father, I trust You to go with them and bless them.
written by Jim Wilhoit