Praying the Beatitudes

The Reverend Jacob E. Pierce, Priest-in-Charge

The gospel reading for this Sunday comes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain in Luke’s Gospel. Jesus offers some of his most memorable teaching in this sermon, in particular Luke’s version of the Beatitudes. These Beatitudes include four blessings followed by four warnings. The Greek word translated as “blessed” was often used in Jesus’ day to describe those seen as fortunate due to their circumstances and station in life. Jesus subverts this notion by calling “rich” or “happy” those society might deem unfortunate. Through the Beatitudes, our Lord is calling us into solidarity with the poor, the hungry, the mournful, and the persecuted.

There are many ways to answer Jesus’ call to stand with the marginalized through participation in the many outreach, social justice, pastoral ministries at St. Peter’s. I invite you this week to pray for those Jesus calls blessed, and then to consider how God might be calling you to stand with those who suffer. Feel free to write your own prayers, but I’ve offered some below from the Book of Common Prayer.

“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.”

Almighty and most merciful God, we remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them. Help us to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy. Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for our sake became poor, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. BCP, 826

“Blessed are you who are hungry now,
for you will be filled.”

Look with pity, O heavenly Father, upon the people in this land who live with injustice, terror, disease, and death as their constant companions. Have mercy upon us. Help us to eliminate our cruelty to these our neighbors. Strengthen those who spend their lives establishing equal protection of the law and equal opportunities for all. And grant that every one of us may enjoy a fair portion of the riches of this land; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. BCP, 826.

“Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.”

Almighty God, Father of mercies and giver of comfort: Deal graciously, we pray, with all who mourn; that, casting all their care on you, they may know the consolation of your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. BCP, 505.

“Blessed are you when people hate you,
and when they exclude you, revile you,
and defame you on account of the Son of Man.”

O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth: deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. BCP, 816.

The Reverend Jacob E. Pierce, Priest-in-Charge