Thursday, December 01, 2011

Pray the Beatitudes

Site of Sermon on the Mount
Matthew 5:1-10

In the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12:1-3), the Lord promised Abraham He would bless him and make him a blessing to the nations. The New Covenant in Jesus’ blood incorporated the Abrahamic Blessing yet also initiated a radical new order of blessing and blessedness. 

The Beatitudes are the first words of the first teaching (torah) of the Messiah in the first book of the New Testament. These words of blessing are the first royal pronouncement of this King in Matthew. The Great Commission is the final royal command to be a blessing to the nations (Matt. 28:18-20). In the Beatitudes our Lord goes up on a mountain (Psalm 24:3; Heb 12:18, 22) and sits down (Heb 1:3-4) to teach with royal authority and inaugurates the new way of the Kingdom of Messiah which we are called to seek above all else (Matt. 6:33).  The Beatitudes are Kingdom promises of blessing conditional on obedience to the King. When we walk in obedience to our King, we are promised royal blessedness as He molds us into the character of the Son. 

Pray the Beatitudes by following the link below:

Blessed are the poor in Spirit – Matthew 5:3

Father, I honestly admit my utter poverty, my helplessness, my destitution because of my sin. Overwhelm me with the sense of my own spiritual need. Help me recognize my true spiritual condition of pride and self-sufficiency. Break me of myself. Root self out of me. Forgive me and cover me with the blood of Jesus. I throw myself upon your mercy. Fill me with the humility of your kingdom. You must increase. I must decrease (John 3:30). More of You, none of me.

Blessed are those who mourn – Matthew 5:4

Let my heart be broken by the things that break Your great heart, O Lord. Let me embrace the grief of the Man of Sorrows. Wipe out of me the unholy grief of self-pity, poor-me-ism, and self-centered navel picking. Let me receive the holy comfort of the God of all comfort in my loss (2 Cor. 1:3-5; Isaiah 61:2). Wipe away my tears with Your tender mercies which are new every morning (Lam 3:22-23). Comfort me with the powerful arm of a comforting King who moves on behalf of the hopeless.

Blessed are the meek – Matthew 5:5

Precious Lord, you command infinite resources beyond all the energy of the universe, yet you are meek, lowly, and gentle-hearted. I come to you weary and burdened. I need your rest. I choose your yoke. I choose to learn from you. (Matt. 11:26-30). Rein me in. Make me gentle in strength like you. I receive your dealings with me as good and I choose not to resist your work, your spiritual heart surgery, your discipline, your correction, even your frustration of my own agendas and plans. Crucify my self-assertive demands of my rights. Work into me your patience, your holy long-suffering and humility. Your yoke is easy and your burden is light.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness – Matthew 5:6

I long for you intensely with an unquenchable thirst (Psalm 63:1, 5; 42:1-2; 36:8-9). Satisfy me in the living water of your presence (Isaiah 55:1-2; John 4:14). I am no longer satisfied at the world’s table. It is time to fast the fast food of my own righteousness. Instead prepare a feast for me of your righteousness (Psalm 23:5; Luke 15:22-24), that I may taste and see that you are good (Psalm 34:8).

Blessed are the merciful – Matthew 5:7

As I have been forgiven by You, O Lord, let me forgive. Out of the overflowing mercy from which you have already poured on me, let Your Holy Spirit dwelling within me pour overflow with mercy and forgiveness. Give me grace to be gracious when grace is not deserved. Give me mercy to be merciful when mercy is not called for. Give me forgiveness to be forgiving when unforgiveness is still my right. Let mercy be measured by the measure you use, not the measure I choose (Luke 6:38).

Blessed are the pure in heart – Matthew 5:8

Wash me in your holiness, O Holy One. Launder my uncleanness in the washing of your Word. Burn out the impurities with your refiner’s fire (Malachi 3:1-3). I am ignorant. I am wicked. I am self-deceived. Nevertheless, I want to ascend the hill of the Lord. Here are my hands. I need cleansing. Here is my heart. I need purifying (Psalm 24:3-6). Skim off the dross, the worthless, the unholy, the insincere (Phil 1:9). I want gold, silver, and precious stone, not wood, hay, and stubble (1 Cor. 3:12-15).

Blessed are the peacemakers – Matthew 5:9

I renounce jealousy and competition. I renounce envy and back-biting. I renounce gossip and innuendo. I renounce divisiveness and rebellion. I receive your peace in my heart, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). You are my Peace (Eph 2:14). As much as is possible, I choose to live at peace with everyone (Rom 12:18). Help me sow in peace so I may reap a harvest of righteousness (James 3:13-18). As an ambassador of reconciliation, help me, Lord, to spread the good news of peace with God through Jesus Christ your Son (2 Cor. 5:20-21).

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake – Matthew 5:10

No more creating my own righteousness. How futile. Help me stand strong for the Righteous One, Jesus. Make me strong when opposed for pursuing Jesus. Help me walk with integrity before you, Lord, in the midst of opposition (2 Tim 3:12). Remind me that my citizenship is in another Kingdom (Phil 3:20), a better Kingdom (Heb 11:16), and I bow only to the King with a rightful claim on my life, for he bought me with his blood. Strengthen my persecuted brothers and sisters around the world.
Confess the Beatitudes. Ask God for the blessings of the Kingdom, that inheritance in Christ, that comfort of the Comforter, that full satisfaction found only in Christ Jesus. Thank him for the blessings.

Adapted from Sylvia Gunter, Prayer Essentials for Living in His Presence, vol. 2, 70-71.