Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the humble, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. – Jesus (Matthew 5:3-10)
For the past year it seems that I have been immersed in the Beatitudes. They keep popping out at me from every angle, beckoning me to slow down and digest them, line by line, to catch a glimpse of this upside down, or rather, right side up, kind of life Jesus has called me to.
This morning as I prayed through the Lord’s Prayer I heard whispers of the Beatitudes. It surprised me at first, but perhaps it shouldn’t have, since Jesus taught His disciples to pray like this in the same sermon where the Beatitudes made their debut. The Lord’s Prayer echoes the Beatitudes found just one chapter earlier in Matthew’s gospel, and I think they go hand in hand. The Beatitudes are not just feel good, philosophical insights. They are meant to shape and inform my life in very practical ways, so why not my prayer life?
This morning I held Jesus’ model prayer in one hand and the blessings of the Beatitudes in the other and prayed…
Our Father, who art in heaven,
You are above all. As creator and sustainer of heaven and earth, what could I possibly bring to You? I come just as I am, no matter how empty my heart or my hands, knowing that the poor in spirit are the ones who can truly experience the reality of Your kingdom.
Hallowed be Thy name,
Father, may my one aim be to give You glory, to see You hallowed in all places, at all times, and in all things — including the things I don’t understand. Let me honour You even in my pain. And as I receive Your supernatural comfort in my mourning, may others see Your holiness.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Make me meek. Humility isn’t something I can weave into the fabric of my own life, in my own determination, but let it grow in me as I seek Your kingdom above all else. Let my heart renounce the beat of its own will and find the rhythm of Yours.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Lord, some days I seem to need more “bread” than others. My list of needs is long, but I know You are the ultimate satisfaction of every single longing. Whet my appetite for more of You, because You have promised to fill me when I am hungry and thirsty for righteousness.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
When I am whirling on the hurtful merry-go-round of blame and bitterness, help me to choose the healing merry-go-round of mercy instead. May the forgiveness I have received give me the strength to extend it to others.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Keep my attention on You. Don’t let me be distracted by the ditches that line this straight and narrow way. I want a heart-deep purity, an undivided heart that is purely Yours. Because when I am delighted with Your love, I am delivered from evil desires.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.
Lord, use me to bring Your kingdom and Your peace to a hurting world. As I learn to live as Your child, may others see the depths of Your fatherly love. And when I suffer for being a beacon of Your righteousness, let me remember that You have the last word. This fallen world is still my Father’s world! One day, You will turn the tables for the last time, and every eye will behold Your power and every knee will bow before Your glory.
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. – Matthew 6:9-13 (KJV)