A Blessing Exercise

by Beth A Richardson on December 29, 2013 · 46 comments


By Emily Eiben

Begin by settling into a comfortable position in your chair. Take a moment to relax your shoulders and let the tension out of your forehead. Take 5 long, slow breaths in and out. Center your awareness on your breathing, and let yourself enjoy a moment of relaxation.

Let’s begin by offering ourselves a blessing. Create an image of yourself in your mind—you as you are now, or maybe you as a small child, and try to cultivate a soft, loving heart toward yourself. Extend grace and love to yourself. Now, imagine yourself cupped in God’s loving, tender hands. Let yourself rest in God’s hands for a moment. (Pause.)

Pray: May I experience God’s love.
May I experience God’s rest.
May I experience God’s peace. (Pause for 5 deep breaths.)

Now, extend the blessing to someone you love. Imagine your partner, a best friend, a sister or brother, or even a child or parent, someone who brings you deep feelings of love, tenderness, and care. Imagine this person in your mind’s eye. Open your heart to this person and extend love and grace toward them. Now, imagine this person cupped in God’s loving, tender hands. Let him or her rest in God’s hands for a moment. (Pause.)

Pray: May they experience God’s love.
May they experience God’s rest.
May they experience God’s peace. (Pause for 5 deep breaths.)

Now comes the hard part! Let us extend our blessing to someone you just don’t get along with. This is someone who causes tension, anger, or negative emotions when you interact with them. Imagine this person in your mind’s eye, and try to hold them gently in your heart, with feelings of benevolence and gentleness. If feelings of anger or tension arise, try to release these feelings to God, by just letting go and opening your heart to set these negative energies free to God’s care. Now, imagine this person cupped in God’s loving, tender hands. Let him or her rest in God’s hands for a moment. (Pause.)

Pray: May they experience God’s love.
May they experience God’s rest.
May they experience God’s peace. (Pause for 5 deep breaths.)

Finally, let us extend God’s blessing to all beings, everywhere. All that is, all that has ever been made, all that is and was and is to come: it is all held by God, sustained by God’s love, and blessed by God’s Spirit. Imagine a beautiful, blue-green earth in your mind, full of plants and animals and so many people, so many beings—and this whole world is in God’s upturned palm. The whole world rests in God.

Pray: May all beings everywhere experience God’s love.
May all beings everywhere experience God’s rest.
May all beings everywhere experience God’s peace.
(Pause for 10-15 deep breaths.)

Emily Eiben is a writer, editor, and translator from Ohio, living in Germany. She is working on her doctorate at the University of Munich (Germany), comparing the Buddhist and Christian ideas of compassion.

Photo Credit: © Nancy Terzian.

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Stephan Hein January 8, 2014 at 7:13 am

Beautiful! A beautiful meditation. It resolves many edges & corners of life per se. It is very peace-giving, “being” in the meditation. Thank you for sharing, Blessings, Swami DevaSteph alias Stephan

LoriAngela January 8, 2014 at 11:05 am

This is a great way to enter into praying for others. It is doable, even for beginners. Thanks.

Sally October 15, 2014 at 8:45 am

This was just what I needed today. To slow down and breathe in God’s love , peace , and rest for myself and for others. Easy to visualize. Thank you.

Beth Richardson October 15, 2014 at 3:21 pm


So glad you were able to experience a blessing in this today.


Sally October 15, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Thanks for the reply. Brought back to this again. And reminded me to do the exercise once more today. I’ve been a faithful user of Upper Room for over 50 years. And then later found Alive Now and Pockets. You all consistently provide a loving ministry.

Beth Richardson October 16, 2014 at 7:09 am

Hi, Sally, How cool that you have been a friend of ours for so long. Thank you for being a faithful user. How did you run across Alive Now and Pockets?

Sending you much love and wishes for peace and blessings.


Sally October 16, 2014 at 8:50 am

I found The Upper Room when I was a kid at our EUB church in Fairmont WV. Then moved a lot and EUB had joined with Methodist, so found them there at UM churches again. And along the way, I started subscribing. Alive Now was at the UM church in Columbus Ohio. And I found Pockets at the UM church here in Huntington WV and subscribed for my granddaughters who lived in North Carolina at the time. One of my granddaughters was on the Pockets Board for awhile. Now they are grown up and teens, writing their own devotionals. So Upper Room has been a constant in my life through moves from WV to MS to NJ to OH to PA and now in WV again. I’ve also done some of the study books. And at various times of angst and worry for those I love, I’ve called your prayer line. I now receive the emails for The Upper Room and Alive Now. You all have done a fantastic job with the mobile platform. Thank you for being a constant positive presence throughout my life.

bonnie francis June 29, 2015 at 8:00 am

Thank you for “Alive Now.” Like Sally above, I’ve kept the UpperRoom close by for many years and just in the last few years discovered “Alive Now.” These guided meditations ride in my car with me until I stop long enough to remember our Lord. They ALWAYS hit the mark for the day because the visualizations help me pause and see. They enliven my heart and help me feel like I belong in God’s Creation in the midsts of man’s. It’s then that I have renewed love for whatever I’m doing that day with JOY. Thank you. Life is not always good yet somehow the hope of life with Jesus is all the energy I need to live another 24.

Beth Richardson June 29, 2015 at 8:35 am

Hi, Bonnie,

So glad you found us. And so grateful that the meditations and exercises are helpful to you. Many blessings on your journey. It’s good to know we are together on the journey.

Beth A. Richardson

Mary L. Maloney June 29, 2015 at 11:20 am

Thank you Beth , as always this is the right meditation for right now. Yes, Thank you God for the resources and your Holy Sprirt’s Guidance. AMEN and amen!

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