Prayer: Put your name on me Lord.

Numbers 6 (ESV):

24 The Lord bless you and keep you;

25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

This familiar refrain was the blessing Aaron and the priests were instructed to speak to the people of Israel. We usually stop there, but God’s reasoning for this blessing is interesting and comes in the next verse:

27 “So shall they [the priests] put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them [Israel].”

This comes at the conclusion of the giving of the Law, just before the consecration of the Tabernacle. Numbers takes a narrative turn beginning in chapter 7, making this blessing the “amen” to the Law – an indication of what God’s desire was in this covenant: to bless, to shine his face and countenance (that’s an old word, but I kind of like it) on them, to give them peace, to put his name (YHWH, Yahweh, the covenant name, “I am”) on them.

This is also God’s desire when it comes to me and you. We usually keep the second person pronouns in place, like we’re the priests speaking the blessing to others. That’s cool and good to do, but we can also use the first person pronoun and turn this blessing into a prayer:

Put your name on me Lord. Bless me, make your face shine upon me, lift your countenance upon me, give me peace. Pronounce to all that I am your possession, I belong to the God named “I am,” the God who exists. Put your name on me.

Don’t be too shy to pray it. You are Yahweh’s child, He is your Papa. My kids are never shy about asking me for something, especially my time and presence. They walk right into my office and ask. Try that with God, He doesn’t mind, you are not interrupting His day, He likes it when you ask. You could also make it plural and pray it as a group: Put your name on us Lord…

meeting God at the changing table

I wrote this in my journal back in September, when our son Isaac was six weeks old. I was reading back over it and felt like I should share it. Hope God meets you with it like He met me, at the changing table (though maybe without the dirty diaper):

I was changing Isaac’s diaper the other day. He did that thing where he throws his arms out, scared and freaking out because he feels, I don’t know, exposed, cold, something.

So I gathered his arms and gently rested my hand on his torso and arms (the trunk of his body is still no bigger than my hand) and said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m right here. Daddy’s here. I love you. Daddy loves you Isaac. I won’t let anything happen to you. Don’t worry. You don’t have to be afraid of anything.

At that moment, I felt the presence of God like he was looking over my shoulder and breathing on my neck. The Lord said to me, “Yeah, that’s how I feel about you, my son. This is the same thing I have been telling you for so long.”

I found it hard to explain why my infant son was flailing about because there was no reason for it. He was laying perfectly safe and comfortable on a sturdy changing table with a soft cushion top. I was standing inches from him, handling him gently, completely taking care of him. He could not have been more secure. He didn’t feel that way. But he was.

How many times do I flail about with no more reason than Isaac had? My Father stands less than inches from me. I am perfectly safe and secure in His hands. My Father takes complete care of me, handles me gently and provides me with comfort and peace.

And yet I flail.

But even as I flail, my Father takes up my little arms, folds them onto my chest, and rests a gentle hand on my whole body, speaking words of love and reassurance to me.

Am I listening?

Are you listening?

Or are you flailing?

Father, thank You for continuing to speak Your words of love and peace and reassurance to us. Help us to hear You. Help us to feel Your loving touch on our fearful, flailing flesh. Thank you for loving your children.