My Introduction to spirit blessing
A few years ago, Dani and I came across a book called Blessing your Spirit, written by Sylvia Gunter and Arthur Burk. We had been introduced to Arthur’s a short time before at a marriage workshop. The couple leading the workshop used Arthur’s material to do “on the spot” deliverance/inner healing and marriages that were about to end in divorce turned around almost instantly. It was quite astonishing, even miraculous.
One of the things Barry and Lori (the couple leading the workshop) did frequently was bless the spirit of the person they were ministering to. This was a new idea for me, but seeing it modeled many times a day made it normal fast. Whenever the person had a blockage in hearing God’s voice, started to bad mouth their spouse or otherwise get distracted, Barry or Lori would gently stop them, look the person in the eye, speak words of blessing and strength to their spirit and then call their spirit back to the place of authority and dominion over their soul and body. The person’s spirit seemed to responded quickly and whatever blockage had been hampering progress was dealt with and removed.
Dani and I got the book Blessing Your Spirit shortly thereafter and started working through it. Dani did a lot more with it than I did, because the idea of speaking to your spirit, encouraging it and instructing it seemed a little “out there” to me. As is often the case, I needed time for this idea to take root in my theology while Dani sprinted with it right out of the gate. For the other slow processors out there, the rest of this article will be devoted to my understanding of the theology behind blessing your spirit or someone else’s spirit. I will say, however, that well before I had what I considered an adequate theology, the fruit of this exercise was apparent. I knew it worked, I just didn’t know why.
Foundation and Framework
It is generally understood within most Christian circles that human beings are made up of three parts — body, soul and spirit. This comes from Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” and from the study of Genesis 2:7 “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground [body] and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life [spirit], and the man became a living being [literally “soul”].”
Within this framework, we typically say that the soul is our “mind, will and emotions” that our body is relatively inert, just a holding tank for our soul and spirit, and that our spirit is the part of us that connects with God. Truthfully, this is a really anemic understanding of all three parts of us.
Looking through all of the references to the human spirit in the Bible, it becomes apparent that our spirits have their own thoughts, desires and feelings, and even work through our bodies to inspire certain actions (though most of the time it is so underfed that it cannot exert such control).
Take for example the following passages…
- “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,” Matt. 26:41. The spirits of the disciples wanted to stay awake, pray and comfort our Lord in his moment of need, but were incapable of overriding the disciple’s bodies. This is opposed to passages like Ezra 1:5 where the spirits of certain Israelites were stirred and caused the people to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. These people had no natural reason to leave their lives in captivity, it was a spirit prompting. Passages such as these show that our spirit has its own will and desires.
- “I, Daniel, was grieved in my spirit within my body, and the visions of my head troubled me,” Daniel 7:15. Daniel’s spirit showed the emotion of grief as it processed the vision God had shown Daniel concerning the fate of the holy people.
- “This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only of the baptism of John,” Acts 18:25. Though Apollos had only received an initial revelation of what God was doing through Jesus, his spirit was able to accurately perceive and extrapolate who Jesus was and could convincingly argue that he was the Christ even though he only knew Jesus had been baptized by John (not crucified, resurrected or ascended). This reveals that our spirits can think, perceive and communicate information that our souls don’t actually know.
We could similarly demonstrate that our bodies (flesh) are much more that inert material, but that is beyond the scope of this article. I simply mean to say that our spirits, souls and bodies all have their own thoughts, desires, emotions and will. When humans were first created, all of these entities were in harmony — thinking the same things, wanting the same things, doing the same things, etc. The Fall fractured and disintegrated our nature and our souls and bodies went into rebellion against our spirits. The spirit was designed to be the leader of our life, keeping us in alignment with the will of God. However, the human spirit is rarely the dominate force in human beings nowadays.
Who is in charge?
In most human beings, our souls are the ones calling the shots. Our souls take in the information gathered by our senses, make sense out of it and plot the course forward. They do a marvelous job considering their many limitations. For instance, they have incomplete information, they don’t always know what is important and, therefore, overlook many crucial elements and they have a severely limited understanding of what it possible because they can only include finite resources (time, energy, skills) in their calculations.
But humans are designed to have their spirit in the place of leadership and dominion.
When a person’s spirit is leading their soul and body, a number of fascinating things take place. They have better discernment — they make decisions based on supernatural elements their soul knows nothing about. They live longer and healthier because the spirit controls the regenerative capabilities of the body and mind — look up how many verses that talk about the human spirit mention it in terms of health or disease. Also, think about how long people used to live compared to now. Their lives are more in alignment with the will of God (i.e. they sin less and have less desire to sin or be in rebellion against God).
Now, the above paragraph describes someone who has a strong spirit and a strong soul. I would like to contrast this with the rare example of someone who has a strong spirit and a weak soul. I say “rare,” but I think this describes many people in ministry.
Someone with a strong spirit and a weak soul has lots of good ideas that never happen. This person is terrible at follow through and follow up. They are unorganized and tend to live quite joyfully in crisis management mode. They live in the moment and don’t plan ahead. They think this is quite spiritual, even fun, but they leave the people around them with hurt feelings, uncertain expectations and a lot of stress because they never know what is coming next. The Senior Pastor who can never return a call in a timely manner, who is constantly changing focus after the latest conference and who leaves people feeling violated and unspiritual because they can’t “go with the flow” as well or as quickly as he can is the classic example of a strong spirit and weak soul. This person needs to beef up their soul skills and realize that spontaneous does not equal Spirit led.
Now, onto the good stuff. How do we strengthen our spirits and get them in charge?
We all recognize that we can exercise our bodies and that they will get stronger if properly fueled and given time to recover. Similarly, our mental faculties can be exercised and grow far beyond our initial skill sets as infants through systematic educational programming. Even our emotions can be trained to respond in certain ways through effort (count to 10!). But we tend to not apply this same principle to our spirits because 1) it seems weird, and 2) we don’t know how.
So, in an attempt to demystify this endeavor, I’ll offer four exercises for you to try.
This is simply acknowledging that your spirit exists, that it has a right to exist, that is is made in the image of God and that it was designed to be the leader of your soul in body. This is ideally done by another person — men in particular are especially powerful in the area of acknowledgement and validation. If this is something you pursue as a family, I highly recommend the man of the house acknowledge and validate the spirits of his spouse and children. Because so many of our spirits are used to being ignored like the ugly stepsister, this can be a powerfully emotional time. Here is how you do it:
- Have the person doing the acknowledgement look the other person in the right eye. I can’t explain this fully right now, but I’ve found that if someone needs fathering a right eye to right eye connection seems most powerful and if someone needs mothering/nurture a left eye to left eye connection is best. For now, you are calling something up into the fullness of what it was created to be — the very essence of fathering.
- While looking into the other person’s right eye, have the person doing the acknowledgement say something along the lines of: “(Name), I call your spirit to attention in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth and I invite you to come and take your rightful place as the leader over (Name’s) soul and body.” Wait a few moments. Having done this enough, you will notice a change in the person’s pupil I can’t quite explain. The spirit is now present.
- Go on to legitimize and validate the spirit as a beautiful creation that reveals part of the image of God, something that is perfect because of the blood of Jesus and that is destined to powerfully expand the influence of our God and King on the earth. (The hardest part of this is getting started. As you continue to speak, your spirit and the Holy Spirit will help you know what to say.)
- Once you run out of Identity Statements to proclaim over the individual, shift to Blessing.
Arthur’s book is invaluable here. You don’t have to recreate the wheel — go and get it. At first the language may seem a bit strange, or it will be difficult to make significant eye contact while reading. You’ll get used to it. This is basically a warm bath for the other person’s spirit. Invite them to receive the words of blessing you speak or read over them. This is the powerhouse for the women. Blessing, nurturing and mothering are what our souls need at this step. Again, if you are doing this as a family, after Dad has finished affirming and acknowledging, have mom join in to bless at this point. Here is the step by step:
- Look the person in their left eye.
- Invite them to receive the words, blessings and promises of God
- Minister to their spirit through your own words or Arthur’s blessings.
- This is the time to exercise your prophetic gift to affirm, bless, encourage, strengthen and otherwise uplift.
- This is not the time to try to impress someone with your fancy phrases. Simple truths are immensely profound. Don’t be embarrassed to say things that someone already knows. “You are a beloved son,” hits the spirit differently than the soul.
It isn’t unusual for the recipient to feel markedly refreshed, energized or “lighter”. This is normal. I’ve occasionally experienced a “buzzing” in my fingers after a particularly thick blessing.
Binge Read the Bible
The Word of God is food for the spirit, the Bread of Life. While this is primarily a Truth about Jesus, it also applies to the Bible. The Bible is a collection of God’s words, a testimony of his character, a light to our feet. Just as you need to eat more food than you are used to in order to gain muscle, you need to force feed your spirit in order to get it to support rapid growth. Depending on your starting point, a “binge” session may be 15 minutes or an hour. I’ve made an hour every work day my normal and I’d like to increase it to an hour every day, but my season of life hasn’t cooperated yet. Again, much like working out, it sucks at first, but then you get used to it and then you look forward to it. I’m at a point now where reading is the first thing I do — I’m anxious for it.
Don’t stress about the time, just read as much as you can.
Pray in the Spirit
For those of you who have the gift of tongues, use it. Pray consistently because it is the one Gift of the Spirit designed primarily to benefit you, not other people. It is a great way to keep infusing your spirit with light, life and truth and it can be done while doing a lot of other things.
So there you go. I know that was like drinking out of a fire hydrant, but I wanted to try and give you a solid framework for you to explore and expand at your leisure. I definitely encourage you to pursue this in more depth and detail — the rewards far outweigh the effort.
Thanks for reading,