Blessing is a theme that stretches from Genesis to Revelation in the Scriptures. In 1 Samuel 25:6 it instructs us, “And thus you shall greet him: ‘Peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have.” Imagine how lovely it would be to greet your friends in this way as you enter their home for a night of fellowship, or upon entering it for the first time? Consider what a gift that would be for them to receive such a blessing. They would never forget it. What if you could leave them a visual memento of blessing to hang in their home as a house blessing?
House Blessings: A History
For centuries, many different cultures have done something strikingly similar to their dwellings: they bless their homes. In the first Century A.D., some early Christians believed sanctifying their homes would ward off evil spirits. Jewish tradition calls for the affixing of a mezuzah, which is construed as a device protecting against the divine anger, in order to fulfill the mitzvah (Biblical commandment) to “write the words of God on the gates and doorposts of your house” (Deuteronomy 6:9).
Fast forward to today, you will see a wide variety of house blessings conducted by both clergy, as well as home owners. From the very private to public settings, like reality TV.
Every dwelling space for humans deserves a house blessing, no matter the size, location or socio-economic status.
When to Do a House Blessing
Existing homes can be blessed, and re-blessed, and new homes can be blessed before being moved into.
House blessings have been a part of Habitat for Humanity since its inception in 1976. “The new homeowners are there from start to finish, so when it comes time to bless the home it’s like baptizing a new baby,” says Jessica Grybek, marketing and PR coordinator for Habitat.
We talked to a number of people who have written blessings on the studs and subflooring, in their new homes, before the next stage of construction was started, and finished up with a home blessing ceremony before they moved in.
A House Blessing Prayer
“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’” (Luke 10:5). This is a basic Jewish greeting, translated from, “Shalom,” meaning, “May G-d cause all to be well with you.” It was a blessing that was also an implicit prayer and was said as members of the early church entered homes, which was the only safe place to preach without fear.
How often do we pray for our own homes / households in this way?
A house blessing prayer isn’t just for the four walls and the roof that we live under. The idea of this ancient prayer is more of a prayer for the inhabitants, the lineage and the goodly heritage. The past, the present and the future. Ancient Jewish tradition states that blessings are passed down to the third and fourth generation.
Would we do this more often if we have a visual reminder to do so, such as a door knocker, entrance plaque or wall cross?
House Blessing Prayers
- Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, in Vancouver WA, offers this house blessing prayer and ceremony for those who want to do their own.
- Catholic.org offers this short house blessing prayer
- Here are Irish home blessings
- Here is a beautiful house blessing prayer set to music and video.
House Blessings Scriptures
May God Keep Your Home Safe
Numbers 6:24-26 “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”
Welcome God Into Your Home
2 Chronicles 7:15-16 “Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time.”
Let Your Home be Based on Hard Work
Proverbs 24:27 “Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.”
May Your Home Be Peaceful
1 Samuel 25:6 “And thus you shall greet him: ‘Peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have.”
May You Dwell In Your Home for Many Years
1 Kings 8:13 “I have indeed built you an exalted house, a place for you to dwell in forever.”
Let Your Home Have Peace
Luke 10:5 “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’”
House Blessing Ceremony
If you’re going to invest thousands of dollars in the roof over your family’s head, why not invest time to perform a sacred ceremony to set the tone for your life in your home?
While no one religion lays claim to the house blessing rite, it’s often associated with Christianity. A typical Christian blessing involves prayer and the sprinkling of holy water. But it can also involve a confession of sins and anointing entryways with oil.
House blessings are often performed when homeowners move into new homes, but they can be performed at any time and for any reason. As you consider the type of ceremony that you would like to create for the blessing of your home, here are some thoughts to stir your heart.
In Proverbs 24:3-4, we read, “By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.”
Building a house can be compared to building a life.
- Laying a firm foundation set upon good soil that will settle well through the years, while remaining solid.
- What is between the studs of a home (out of sight) is the power and ventilation, much like knowledge is power, and understanding is the fresh air of relationships.
- The walls of a home provide structure, as well as creating communal spaces and bedrooms, just like the push and pull of healthy relationships create the proper tension between giving and receiving, dependence and independence, and openness and privacy.
- The décor sets the tone for the life to be lead in your home, and precious and pleasant riches can be anything from the coziness you create, your grandmother’s dishes, and, of course, the precious children you raise.
How You Can Incorporate House Blessings in Your Daily Life
We live busy lives and sometimes our focus on the mundane takes over the attention to the sacred. Visual reminders, such as wall crosses and plaques to door/entrance blessing and door knockers, are a great way to keep us mindful of our dependence on God, from whom all blessings flow. They also make great house warming gifts.
Don’t forget to send your students off to dorm life with a house blessing to remind them of God’s provision and protection away from home, and of the family they came from to keep them grounded as they venture into adult life.