The following is a prayer prepared for the March 5, 2017 worship service at South City Church based on the Beatitudes:
Heavenly Father, we come to you through the redemptive blood of your son, Jesus, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. We desire to learn what you taught your disciples when you were on earth and said,
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Lord, may we be poor in spirit in that we fully recognize our need for you. May we seek your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. May we worship you as the one true God and not the worthless idols we create in our lives, or even of ourselves. May we humbly follow You with complete dependence as we dwell in the tension of your kingdom in the reality on earth now and hold fast to the promise of its ultimate future fulfillment.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Following your perfect example, will you help us to first see, truly see, those who are mourning in our midst: the sick, the grieving, the frightened, the lonely, the disregarded, the injured, the orphans, the victims of discrimination, the abused, the afflicted, the misguided…Just as you saw the hurting, Jesus, will you open our eyes to see where you have called us to bring comfort in your holy name. As we reflect your image, may we bring comfort and not harm.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Lord, meek is not a popular word in our society. Yet you value the meek, those who have been found humble because their circumstances drove them to you. We ask you to grow meekness and gentleness in our hearts so that we may patiently endure hardship to bring glory to your name. While acknowledging the challenges of present sacrifices, help us to hold tight to your promises.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
We are desperately hungry and thirsty, yet so often seek to satisfy with the temporary. Lord, shape our hearts to long for your righteousness in our hearts, in our church, in our relationships, in our city, in our nation, in our world…and to find our satisfaction in you alone. Give us strength when we tire in well-doing, give us focus when lesser hungers and thirsts tempt us with distraction, and give us grace to fully receive what you grant in our lives. May our bellies be full with the overflowing goodness of your righteousness, for you are not a stingy or reluctant God.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
As those in our lives interact with us, may our calling card be mercy: to the stranger at Starbucks, to the postman delivering our Amazon order, to the loud teenager next door, to the one who speaks little English as a new arrival in America, to the one with a different skin color, to the one who we’d rather not run into, to the elderly friend who struggles with mobility and health, to the one who votes differently than us…Yet we recognize we cannot muster up mercy within ourselves – it flows abundantly from you. Will you help us to be so attuned to your mercy that we do not react aggressively to those who wrong us. May we freely give mercy in the same lavish fashion you have given to us.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
As we strive for so many things in our culture, we ask you Lord to purify our hearts. May we not only be morally upright, but also be single-minded in our commitment to love you with all of our heart, soul, and mind enabling us to serve you with all of our strength.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons and daughters of God.
May the peace we find in you enable us to live peacefully with those around us. May we seek to elect local, state, and national leaders who seek peace and reconciliation where brokenness and the chaos of sin currently reign. Even when from our human perspective peace may seem impossible, your children relentlessly pursue shalom. Will you make us agents of peace seeking to participate in reconciliation within our sin-sick souls, with our brothers and sisters, with the beautiful creation you have made for us, and most importantly with you, God.
Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
At this moment, Christians around the world are experiencing persecution for their identity as a citizen of the heavenly kingdom. We join the worldwide church in praying for your comfort and protection for those in dire circumstances as a result of their faith in you. In addition, we ask for your guidance to mature and transform our expectations of a comfortable, easy life just because we believe in you. Let us not be surprised when living the gritty Christian life includes inconvenience, expense, lost sleep, heartache, loneliness, and pain. We thank you for the religious freedom we have in America to worship you and pray for our leaders to uphold this freedom for all.
We bring all that we are to you and desire to glorify you in word, deed, and thought. In the precious name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.