The Bible reveals that fathers pass on blessings to their children, as we see with Isaac praying an irrevocable blessing onto his son Jacob (Genesis 27).
We also see fathers commissioning their sons, as David did to Jonathan in passing the Kingship to him (1Kings 2).
We also see fathers passing on wisdom to their children as Solomon did in Proverbs (Proverbs 1:8).
We see a family put under restraint by their ancestors, such as the Rechabites being put under limitation by the command of Jonadab and God honouring the faithfulness of that family in following the family standards (Jeremiah 35).
We also see that God oversees intergenerational transfer of various things through the family line, such as visiting the iniquities onto the descendants (Ex 20:5) and giving ownership of revelation to future generations (Deut 29:29). The children of the righteous are known to be blessed (Psalm 37:25) and the descendants of those chosen for special purpose walk in the family calling, such as the line of Levi and Aaron’s priestly family (Numbers 18:1).
It is important to note that individuals are able to transcend the family heritage, curses, limitations, etc. We see this when God calls and blesses someone, such as David, for special purpose. God did this when He called Abraham to be the father of a new nation of people. New horizons open up when God enters our lives.
The Family Heritage and Blessing
The graces we receive through our family are listed here and numbered from 1 – 7, in two general categories, including those things conferred by God and those things conferred by our fathers.
Those things which are conferred upon us by God
1. We receive the Adamic family curse of death by being born as one of Adam’s descendants. God placed this curse upon Adam and all Adam’s descendants at the fall of man (Genesis 3, 1Corinthians 15:22).
2. We receive the impact of the iniquities of our forbears and we receive any family curses transferred upon us, at the hand of God, Himself. God warns that it is He who visits the iniquities of the fathers upon the descendents to three and four generations (Exodus 20:5). Eli’s family line was cursed forever in punishment for Eli failing to discipline his children (1Samuel 3:13).
3. We receive all the blessings and graces that rest on the family, including calling, anointing, responsibilities and grace, such as the descendants of Aaron have in their calling to be priests before God.
4. We receive inheritance rights including those rights based on our place in the family. The land and assets of the father becomes the birthright of the children, and the birthright of the firstborn son entitles him to a double portion of inheritance (Deuteronomy 21:17). This inheritance includes right to all revelation of God and God’s grace that has been provided to the former generations (Deuteronomy 29:29).
Resolving Negative Transfer
We can deal with the Adamic curse by faith in Jesus Christ causing us to be born again and be given resurrection after death.
We can deal with the family curses also through Christ, who was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5), and through the grace of God, who turns our curses into blessings (Deuteronomy 23:5).
We can deal with the blessings and graces by claiming them and walking in them.
We can deal with our inheritance by determining to claim our birthright, and by not despising it and selling it off, as Esau did.
Those things conferred upon us by our fathers
5. Fathers minister to the child his or her identity and acceptance in the family as an endorsed son or daughter.
The father of the prodigal endorsed the prodigal’s standing by declaring “this is my son” and by giving the returned prodigal the various tokens of sonship and authority in his home. The older brother objected but it was in the father’s power to confer sonship status, blessing and grace on his son, and he chose to do so (see Luke 15).
We further see this paternal endorsement when the father declares “this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). This declaration is believed to be a cultural norm in ancient Israel, endorsing the son as being in equal partnership with the father, as an approved graduate of the father’s discipline and training regime and thus able to act with the father’s authority, as an equal in the family business.
We see that where a father fails to discipline his son something of the transfer of identity and authority is lost, as explained in Hebrews 12:5-8. The son takes on the character of an illegitimate son if not properly corrected. We see that King David’s failure to deal with the sins of his sons led to tragedy (2Samuel 13).
Thus a wise father will guide, instruct, discipline and affirm his sons, training them to work with him and to approve themselves as worthy of his full endorsement.
Note that a foolish son who rebelled against his parents was to be denounced and exposed by the parents and stoned, under Mosaic law (Deuteronomy 21:18-21).
6. Fathers set a standard for their children, which standard tests the child’s character and impacts the child’s destiny.
We see this when Jonadab the son of Rechab instructed his family line to live in tents and not to drink alcohol. In the following generations the family continued to obey that family standard, even though Jonadab was long dead and his descendants may well have been of greater age and seniority than Jonadab was when he set that standard. God commended the Rechabites for their faithfulness and pronounced a blessing on them (see Jeremiah 35).
A wise father is careful about the standards he sets and seeks God’s wisdom in raising his children. Such training is referred to as the “nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4), because, although the vehicle for the training is the father, the standards are set by the Lord, not the dad himself.
7. Fathers pronounce blessings and curses on their children.
King Saul put a curse on any of his soldiers who ate before a battle was ended. Saul’s son, Jonathan, did not hear about the curse and ate honey, causing a spiritual problem. Saul’s rash curse created trouble for his family (1Samuel 14).
Similarly Jephthah made a rash promise to God, which led to the death of his only child (Judges 11).
Because children are under the care of their father, he having authority over them, his pronouncements upon them have force and need to be attended to.
If a father makes a rash promise, curse, commitment or other impediment impacting his children those children can come before God, as their Heavenly Father with greater authority than their natural father, and resolve the issues created by the father.
A wise father will seek to bless his children.
He will lead them to faith in Jesus Christ to resolve the Adamic curse of death.
He will resolve all curses and iniquities in the family line, standing in the gap for his family, so all curses are terminated and turned into blessings for his children.
He will release to his children all the family graces and blessings, raising the children to fulfil the destiny and special privileged positions falling to the family.
He will create a rich godly inheritance for his children.
He will affirm his children and establish their identity as blessed godly seed enjoying all the graces of God which transfer through the family.
He will seek God for godly standards to set for his family, avoiding excessive demands which become a burden and discouragement to his descedants.
He will pronounce blessings upon his children, releasing the grace of God into their lives.
A wise son will seek the family blessing.
He will come to faith in Jesus Christ.
He will acknowledge and resolve all curses and iniquities in the family line, standing in the gap for his family, so all curses are terminated and turned into blessings for the whole family.
He will claim the family graces and blessings and seek to fulfil godly destiny and privileges which are his in the family.
He will seek and claim his spiritual inheritance, including all those things that have been revealed to the family in previous generations, so his starting point is higher than any of his ancestors.
He will accept his identity from God, even if never released to him by his natural father, seeking God’s endorsement and authority to fulfil godly destiny.
He will accept the standards and challenges set by his father, asking God for grace to fulfil them and to resolve them, and even to remove them if they are vain and counter to an effective godly life.
He will accept all blessings conferred by his dad, and accept all curses also, taking those curses to his Heavenly Father so those curses are turned into blessings.
Further to this, a wise son will walk first as a Son of God, and he will cherish the human father God chose for him, knowing that the weaknesses and failings of that man were designed to test the character of the son and enable the son to find God’s grace, not only for the home, but for life.
A wise son will also be careful to recognise spiritual fathering and be careful to have a godly connection with his natural family and with God as his Heavenly Father.
While the Pharisees had a natural connection to Abraham as their biological family ancestor, Jesus accused them of not being true children of Abraham, because they did not walk in the faith of Abraham, and instead Jesus accused them of being children of the devil, because they did the works of the devil (see John 8:37-44).
Wise sons have God as their Heavenly Father, their natural dad as their human father, Abraham as their spiritual father (following Abraham’s example of believing God), and godly men from the Bible, history and their acquaintance as role models for their lives.
Note that the Western world gives great emphasis on being an individual, rather than being a product of the family. Many fathers and children today fail to recognise the importance of the family and the father’s blessing.
The Bible reveals that the father has a divinely appointed significance in his children’s lives. The closing verses of the Old Testament (Malachi 4:5,6) suggest that God does not endorse the individualistic ideas of the secular west, but wants us to rediscover the significance of family and the connection between the generations.
Start with Affirmation
Rather than rushing into a family blessing process it might be best in many families to take some time and to deal with the family blessings in at least two stages.
I suggest that a good first stage is AFFIRMATION.
This involves the father affirming the child as his son. The mother can also engage with this stage.
At this stage it would be good if the child also affirmed their acceptance of their place in the family.
This then leads to the release of the family heritage issues in the child’s life.
At a later, subsequent session, the father can confer a personal blessing onto his child, which the father creates for the child.
These are personal blessings and graces which the parents want to see outworked in the child’s life, such as ministry grace, protection from various weaknesses in the family, and so on.
It may take some time to think about and prepare such a Fatherly Blessing, so that can be left for some later time.
Fathers Passing the Blessing.
A father who wants to bless his children might want to communicate the following ideas….
“Son, I thank God that I have been given the privilege of being your dad.
I know I am not perfect and I don’t think I have been a great example of fathering, but nonetheless I know that God has entrusted your life into my hands and I realise that it is a great responsibility that I cannot take lightly.
Before I bless you, I must first ask you to forgive me for not being a better dad in your life. As I get older I wish I could have my time over again, to do a better job, with the wisdom I have gained over the years.
Know this, my son, I love you and I do want the best for you. No matter how imperfectly I do my job, I am your father and I have a special place in your life that I recognise as precious.
Please forgive me for every time I did not do my job as well as you might have wanted or needed me to do it. I am sure I have let you down in more ways than I will ever know. I ask you to extend God’s grace to me, because I know that He forgives me.
I am also confident that God is able to restore you and to protect you and to bless you, so that my failings do not have the final say in who you are and how you live. And I encourage you to take all your burdens and disappointments to Him, finding in Him the one who is a perfect father who can make up for the limitations of your earthly dad.
I also encourage you to join with me in the journey of restoration of our family so that each of us, in our own generation, brings God’s grace upon our extended family, so that all who are related to us are blessed where they have previously been empty handed or even deprived in some way.
And now, as a child of Almighty God and one who is washed in the blood of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, I confer upon you the blessing of the Lord God, your creator.
I declare this day, before heaven, earth and hell, that you have been brought into the world by the will of God and that Almighty God, your Heavenly Father, has a perfect plan and purpose for your life as one who causes His will to be done and His kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven.
I declare that I am delighted to be your father and to have brought you into the world and to present you back to God as His child created for and released to bring about God’s good pleasure.
I declare that the blessing of God which rests upon my family is now yours by inheritance and I release that inheritance to you. I confer upon you every blessing and grace that has ever been opened to this family, as your personal birthright and property, and I release it to you as resources for you to use to fulfil the will and purpose of God in your life.
I also recognise that any unresolved curse or blight upon our family is yours by birthright and so I release you this day to take possession of all negative elements of your inheritance and to so deal with them under God’s grace that each one is turned into a blessing for you and for your descendants and for the whole of our extended family. I give you authority and power in God to put right what has been made wrong and to be a restorer of our family, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
I give you my approval. I confess my delight in you as my son and as a man of God who will work the works of God. Go in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ into the destiny for which you have been created. And as you go, I stand with you, upholding you in the Lord and working with you for the sake of God’s Kingdom. You are an arrow in my hand, and I am the bow to give impetus to your effectiveness in God’s purposes.
I also confer upon you the blessings which belong to this family which even I do not know about. Whatever has been lost by this family through the generations, such that gifts and graces from God have been forgotten and deactivated, I now transfer full beneficial ownership of those things into your hands, as well as into my own, that we may reclaim them and reinvigorate them, so that we each walk from this day in new grace and new blessing, as that which has been lost is restored into our lives and into our family.
I also speak greatness upon you. I give you my hearty approval to go beyond my limitations and to be what I have failed to be. I authorise you to become great in the kingdom of God, blessed in all you do, as the head and not the tail, as above only and not beneath. I bless you in the name of the Lord most high, that everything you put your hand to will prosper and that no weapon formed against you can have any effect, and that every tongue that rises against you in judgment is condemned and silenced.
I release the blessing of Almighty God upon you and everything you do. And I charge you to live for God and for the Kingdom of God, in the fear of God and always in the fullness of God’s grace.”
The physical process of releasing or claiming a blessing can involve direct contact between father and child, such as in laying on of hands (as with Isaac blessing Jacob and Moses authorising Joshua), or direct pronouncement and instruction (such as David releasing the kingship to Solomon or Moses speaking a blessing over the twelve tribes of Israel).
However the blessing is spiritual not physical and so its transfer does not totally rely on physical action. When the prodigal son’s father advised the older brother of his acceptance and endorsement of the runaway son that prodigal son was not even present. The elevation of the son happened in the heart of the father and so was directly expressed to the prodigal, but also attested by the father in other contexts as well.
Some fathers may choose to make a ceremony of conferring blessing on their children, while others may simply determine to do it in their heart and to allow the physical expressions of that choice be manifest as appropriate in life’s circumstances.
Some transfers happen whether we are aware of them or not, such as our death heritage from Adam coming upon us.
The practical and physical expressions have much of their value in that the child is made aware of the father’s endorsement and blessing and the public also sees it. This form of affirmation can be very powerful in a person’s life.
If the ceremonial process is given too much significance then the physical process can end up being given more attention than the underlying spiritual reality of blessing. What is most important is that your children are blessed and endorsed by their father, not the particular methodology that is used.
A father can confer blessing remotely, by using his personal authority before God to decide and determine to release blessing. While making this public has great effect, the fact that it has been established in spirit is most significant.
Children Claiming a Blessing
Since many of the blessings that come to us through our family come automatically or by God’s hand, children who have never been given their family blessing are still beneficiaries.
It may be wise for children who have missed their blessing to actually claim it from God, despite the failure of their father to confer it upon them.
Here is a suggested prayer that a person can use to claim their family blessing.
“Lord God, my Heavenly Father, I acknowledge You as my creator and as the one who owns me and is Lord of my life.
I thank You for my father and my family. You chose that family for me and I accept Your choice.
I also acknowledge that there is both good and bad in my family heritage.
So, Lord, I accept both the good and bad and bring them under Your grace.
I now ask You to confer upon me all the graces and blessings that belong to my family and are mine by birthright. I also claim from You all the revelations and graces that have been placed upon my family line through the centuries.
At the same time I also recognise that there may be iniquities, curses or other blights coming to me from the failures of my ancestors. Since those things are mine by inheritance I accept them and I place them at Your feet, asking You to turn all the curses into blessings for me.
And Father, if there are any special graces and callings that have been conferred upon my family through the centuries but which have been lost to us somehow, I ask You to find those abandoned mantles and graces and to place them upon my shoulders, as one with the right to inherit them and to possess them in this generation.
Now Father, I bless my parents and thank You that they brought me into the world. I forgive their failures. I choose to love them and I thank You for them.
Lord, I also ask You to bless and lead me until I have full possession of all Your blessings and graces, and am empowered to pass them freely to my own generations, and also to stand in the gap for my entire family.
Thank You for these graces. In Jesus’ powerful name I pray. Amen.”
These notes have been compiled by Ps Chris Field to assist families who have questions about family blessing.
For further information about how to resolve unwanted elements in the family heritage refer to the Steps To Release material and other articles available via http://ChrisFieldBlog.com or from the resources of http://FamilyHorizons.net
Copyright CGF 2012