One of the things we hope to be true about IDC is that we would be “a praying church.” We want our ordinary life together reflect that desire. One way we do that is by having different times of prayer throughout our gathered worship service. We also have a monthly prayer night where we invite the church body to spend a little over an hour praying for all manner of spiritual matters.
An Obvious Discovery
I thus often feel the pressing need to be creative in how I lead our church in prayer. By creative, I mean scouring Scripture for anything and everything applicable to our church’s prayer life. The Psalms and prayers of Paul are common companions. It only dawned on me last weekend that I’ve never (in the last 3.5 years) used the Beatitudes to guide us. So I got to work. I found a confession of sin framed around Jesus’ words in Matthew 5 and reworked it a bit. Then I put together a few supplications for each beatitudes Christ gave and we used them in for corporate prayer.
I’ve copied what we did below. I hope you might find it useful as you lead your congregation in prayer.
Using the Beatitudes as a Confession of Sin
Leader: Our Lord Jesus, you offered us all your blessings when you announced, “Blessed are the poor in spirit”
Church: but we have been rich in pride.
Leader: “Blessed are those who mourn”
Church: but we have not known much sorrow for our sin.
Leader: “Blessed are the meek”
Church: but we are a stubborn people.
Leader: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness”
Church: but we are filled to the full with other things.
Leader: “Blessed are the merciful”
Church: but we are harsh and impatient.
Leader: “Blessed are the pure in heart”
Church: but we have impure hearts.
Leader: “Blessed are the peacemakers”
Church: but we have not sought reconciliation.
Leader: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness”
Church: but our lives reflect the world.
Leader: “Blessed are you when people insult you because of me”
Church: but we have hardly made it known that we are yours.
Leader: Your Law is holy and your words are perfect; You alone are blessed.
Church: We plead with you to forgive our sins and give us the blessing of your righteousness.
Using the Beatitudes for Corporate Supplication
For our Prayer Night, I simply added three suggested petitions for each beatitude. You can of course change/add/remove any and all of them. I mean for this to just be a catalyst for what you might do.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
– Pray for dependence on God’s power
– Pray for hope in heaven
– Pray for satisfaction in Christ alone
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
– Pray for greater awareness of sin’s evil
– Pray for greater hatred of sin
– Pray for increased comfort from God and in the gospel
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
– Pray for submission to God’s word
– Pray for humility towards others
– Pray for joy in our spiritual inheritance
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
– Pray for souls that long for God
– Pray for lives that are hungrier for heaven than for the world
– Pray for hearts eager to put on the righteousness of Christ
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
– Pray for increasing compassion towards the hurting
– Pray to have mercy on the doubting
– Pray for joyful resting in Christ’s mercy
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
– Pray for the Spirit’s help in covenanting with our eyes to look on no impure thing
– Pray for homes marked by purity
– Pray for earnestness in seeing Jesus
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
– Pray for the church to maintain unity in the bonds of peace
– Pray for wisdom to aid reconciliation
– Pray for delight in our spiritual adoption
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
– Pray for steadfastness in suffering
– Pray for the persecuted church
– Pray for unwavering allegiance to Jesus
“Blessed are you when others revile you . . . on my account.”
– Pray for courage in speaking of the gospel
– Pray for fear of man to decrease and fear of God in increase
– Pray for perseverance in knowing our ultimate reward lies in heaven