Matthew 5:1-10 and 6:9-13


Wrestling with Jesus’ Beatitudes is exhausting business. Scrutinizing the eight axioms has put us into uncomfortable positions at times. The ever-present Spirit of God has put us into holds that demand us to change our stance or fall. We’ve seen that antithesis is His signature move. His blessings come via unexpected means; the hopeless becomes promising, the presumed cast aside.

Did Jacob receive what he expected when he declared to God, “I will not let you go unless you bless me”? He was notorious for wanting birthrights and inheritances. God’s blessing for him was a new name. He would be defined by a completely new set of parameters.

Jesus’ Beatitudes accomplish the same for us. The hip of our yearning for power is wrenched, and we are turned toward the Giver. We are given new names, now children of a heavenly Father. Our primary focus in life becomes prayer, communicating with the lover of our souls.

We find we cannot be poor in spirit without prayer. We cannot mourn, be meek or merciful without prayer. We cannot hunger and thirst for righteousness or be peacemakers without prayer. And we cannot endure persecution without prayer.

Prayer becomes our new point of equilibrium. When we pray we stand balanced to face every head-locking takedown this world tries to throw our way.

To pray the Beatitudes is to quench a thirst. As C.S. Lewis is attributed as saying in the movie Shadowlands , “That’s not why I pray, Harry. I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God, it changes me.”

Only our connection and communion with God elicits true change in us. All other change is superficial, temporal, a façade. Only prayer makes that connection. As we rise from the wrestling mat of our inquiry into Jesus’ eight inspiring axioms we can be victorious; the Spirit empowers us to move out and live in new ways, more merciful ways, kingdom-seeking ways. Let’s rise and discover the blessings.


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