These are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said as he told his sons good-bye. He blessed each one with an appropriate message. Genesis 49:28 (NLT)

Ever notice how many times people ask you, “So, how are you today?” You know they don’t really want to know. The words slip meaninglessly from their lips and once in a while you think it would be fun to tell them how you REALLY are and make them stand and listen to the whole story! Then maybe they’d think twice about asking flippant questions they have no desire to hear the answer to.

We all say things from time to time that are just empty words. Words that we intend to be kind and thoughtful, in reality become empty clichés. If we aren’t careful they even creep into our prayer life. How often have you said ‘grace’ before a meal, thanking God for the food without really giving it a second thought? For most of us we eat way too much food, much of it that isn’t even good for us, while many in the world, perhaps even in our own communities, are going without food for the third day in a row because they just don’t have the money.

One of my most annoying habits in my own prayer life is using the phrase, “And Lord bless my friend _______ today.” One day I thought about what I’d just said. I imagined God listening in and thinking, “Um, okay. I can do that. How should I bless him? I have plenty of options. What do you want me to do for him?” That thought began a pattern of change in my prayer life. A pattern, I’m sad to say, continues to be a struggle. Now, when I pray I try to be specific, or if nothing else ask God for wisdom in how to pray.

The great patriarch, Jacob, was nearing the end of his life. As he addressed his sons he blessed them, but the Bible says he “Blessed each one with an APPROPRIATE message.” As a loving father who had walked many miles through life, who’d seen struggles and pain and knew each of his sons well enough to know that they needed in life, he blessed them with just the thing they needed for the path ahead.

Jacob’s words are an example of our Heavenly Father’s desire for each of us. He knows just what we will need to make it in this journey we call life. God’s blessings for us are not ‘One Size Fits All’. They are tailored for our specific needs, and customized to help us according to our mindset, our emotional make-up, our past.

Spend time with your Heavenly Father. Learn from Him through prayer, regular Bible reading and healthy Christian fellowship. His desire is to bless each of us richly and those blessings come more frequently when we walk close to Him.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father. I thank You for the fact that you know my every need on an individual basis. I thank you that your desire is to bless me according to my own unique, one-of-a-kind emotional and intellectual make-up. No one knows me better than You! I ask that you would empower me to walk closer to you so that I can experience your blessings in my life to the fullest. I also ask that you would help me to learn to bless others in the same way that you have blessed me. Amen.