Matthew 5:3-10 is known as The Beatitudes and is one of the most well known portions of the Bible. “Beatitudes” is a Latin word meaning “blessed” or “happy” and contains eight blessings. In the almost two millennia since it was spoken by Jesus, no other text or teaching has come close to it, as guidance for how to live a good and moral life.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
St. Augustine called the Beatitudes the ideal for every Christian life!
St. Gregory of Nyssa, a mystic who lived in Cappadocia in Asia Minor around 380 AD described the Beatitudes this way:
“Beatitude is a possession of all things held to be good,
from which nothing is absent that a good desire may want.
Perhaps the meaning of beatitude may become clearer to us
if it is compared with its opposite.
Now, the opposite of beatitude is misery.
Misery means being afflicted unwillingly with painful sufferings.”
You are our glorious Lord and God. Be exalted in the heavens, be exalted on the earth. We praise You for who You are and for Your Word, which You have given us, Your Word, which You hold higher than Your name. All praise, glory and honour be to You, now and always.
Thank you for the words of Your Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth which we know as “The Beatitudes”, “The Blessings”. Thank You, for giving them to us, that we may have this perfect teaching for guidance, now and forevermore.
Thank You, Lord, for telling us the poor in spirit will be the greatest in Your Kingdom of Heaven. Thank you, that you do not always favour the strong, as we do in the flesh, but you bless the one who is as humble as a little child. Thank You, that You love the weak and those who struggle here, that You have a special heart for them – a heart we also need to grow. Thank you, that if we come to you with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, You will not reject us. Thank You, that if we do all in humility and honesty, ours is the kingdom of heaven.
Thank You, Lord, that You have said that You will comfort those who mourn. Thank You, that when we no longer have words to say, to speak, when our words of compassion and empathy fail us, You will comfort those who mourn. Lord, it is so comforting to know that You are with us in our happy times and our sad times; that You are a God of unlimited compassion who gather us and shelters us under your mighty arm, as does a mother hen, her chicks.
Thank You, Lord, that if we are not haughty, or proud, or boastful that in You, we shall be able to inherit the earth. Thank You, that You do not judge us by our possessions, or by our status, or by our power, but You judge us on that which is inside us. Thank You, that You hold humility of character, so highly, and that Jesus so perfectly modelled that character for us. Lord, help us to develop serving hearts, to serve You and to serve others.
Thank You Lord, that as a baby cries out in hunger to its mother for milk; as we cry out to you for spiritual food, that food which will make us more right with You, that You will hear from heaven and You will answer and You will satisfy our needs. Thank You, that Your Word always satisfies our hunger; that Your Living Water also always satisfies and slakes our thirst.
Thank You, Lord, that when we show mercy, You will answer from heaven and also grant us mercy. Help us Lord, to always be merciful and forgiving, especially at the times when in our flesh, we feel no reason for it. Help us, Lord, to always remember that You first, were merciful, as You gave Your Son for our redemption. Help us to remember that to be forgiven, we first need to forgive.
Thank You, Lord, that You have given us Your solemn promise that we can see You one day and all we need to be is pure in our hearts. Thank You for this hope. We pray, Lord, that You will help us overcome the temptations of this life presented by the enemy, who seeks to separate us from You. We pray, Lord, that You will continue to sanctify us and make us perfect unto You, and Your use for us. When we backslide, please correct us, for You are our Father, and fathers correct their children. Father, we recognise it is that which comes out of us, which makes us impure. We pray that You will strengthen our willpower to curb our tongues, that they are always under control, that they only speak Your words in both love and mercy.
Thank You, Lord, that we may be called the sons of God, the children of God, if we keep the peace as You require of us. You ask us to be at peace with all people at all times, doing nothing to upset others and with Your help, we shall be victors. Remind us, Lord, when we need to be reminded, that we must love our neighbour as ourselves; for Jesus has told us that there is no greater commandment. We do not want to fail Lord, and so willingly offer our bodies as living sacrifices for Your use. We lay down our will before You Lord, and ask you to please lead us down the path of Your choice.
Thank You, Lord, for persecutions which fall upon us for doing Your will or for fulfilling Your requirements for us in this life; for Jesus has told us that we will be persecuted, as He was persecuted, if we speak His words as He spoke them. Thank You, that in this, we shall receive the Kingdom of Heaven. Thank You, Father, that Jesus did not hide the realities of Christianity from us, but instead, He has told us that we are to count the cost of serving Him. We thank You, that You have given us a spirit of boldness, not of timidity; please help us to stand alongside those who are being persecuted and suffering injustice. Even if we anger other, please strengthen us to stand up and raise our voices for that which is good and just. Help us Lord to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless and plead the widow’s cause, even if it results in our persecution.
Father, we thank You for who You are, and that You love us, and want us to come to You. We praise You, Oh Lord, for the opportunity of being able to pray to you this day, on the basis of Your very own words. We pray, Oh Lord, in the glorious and exalted name of Your only begotten Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth who died for us.
Amen and Amen and Amen.