Beginning January 10, 2022, we’ll focus a week of prayer on our desire for more of God: more of his grace, more of his love, more of his peace. Our scriptural focus will be the Beatitudes, the 8 “blessed” statements given by Jesus at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. In this short list, Jesus explains the good life, the blessed life. But these statements are not a spiritual to-do list, the things we ought to try to do and be to receive God’s kingdom. That only creates a new law.
Instead, the Beatitudes remind us who we are, and what kind of people God’s kingdom comes to. We are poor in spirit—“spiritual zeroes,” as Dallas Willard put it—but the kingdom comes to us anyway. When we are hungry and thirsty for righteousness—as happens to people starved of justice—the kingdom fills us up with real kingdom righteousness that is as satisfying as a banquet. That’s the heart of the Beatitudes, that the kingdom of God is coming and has come to the least likely to succeed, the ones who couldn’t possibly lift themselves by their own bootstraps.
We want to be such a people, sure of God’s blessing because of his goodness rather than our own righteousness, but empowered by that very goodness to do the good work God has given us to do. Our corporate identity, as a place of hope and a people of promise, depends on our receiving God’s kingdom now—
- despite our spiritual poverty (v. 3);
- though we grieve and mourn (v. 4);
- if we don’t assert our rights (v. 5);
- when we’ve endured injustice (v. 6);
- despite choosing mercy rather than vengeance (v. 7);
- even if we refuse to “go along” with the worldly way (v. 8);
- even when we choose to make peace rather than conflict (v. 9);
- even when the world’s brokenness means we suffer for God’s right way (v. 10).
In the days that follow, we invite you to join us in these prayers. Each day we’ll provide the day’s Beatitude focus, several prayer requests, additional scriptures to pray, and a written prayer you may use as a skeleton for your own prayer. You can find a shortened form of these resources on our Facebook and Instagram feeds each day.
Let’s pray together that God would help us receive the more that is already ours in Christ Jesus, praying as the Apostle Paul prayed in Ephesians 3:14-21 (NKJV):
I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ … that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.