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An Attitude of Prayer

Today’s Reflection

PRAYER IS NOT SO MUCH AN ACT as an attitude. The first Beatitude says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). The poor in spirit – the renounced, the surrendered in spirit – have what? The kingdom of heaven! They do not merely belong to the kingdom of God, but the kingdom of God belongs to them! All of its resources support them; they work with almighty power. Therefore, they go beyond themselves in thinking, in acting, in accomplishment. They are ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

– E. Stanley Jones with commentary by Tom Albin

How to Pray

From pages 39-40 of How to Pray by E. Stanley Jones with commentary by Tom Albin. Copyright © 2015 by the E. Stanley Jones Foundation. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

What does “poor in spirit” mean to you? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country.

He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.
Luke 4:14-15, NRSV

This Week: pray for church leaders. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers, call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center web site.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: Priscilla (January 18).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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{ 13 comments… add one }

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling January 23, 2016, 2:18 am

    To be poor in spirit means recognising that we are nothing without God. Knowing that whatever we have, whatever position we have attained or what we have achieved, the kingdom of God is more valuable.

    Father God, help us to put you first above all else. Help us to empty ourselves so that we can be filled with Christ.

  • Jill January 23, 2016, 4:48 am

    I believe I have mentioned this before here, but I will say it again…I love the words of the Sermon on the Mount that are translated in The Message. This verse specifically says…”You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule.” Mary – I believe this is what you may be saying as well. My spin on it would be…that getting to the end of your rope thing – instead of straining and trying to do/be it (whatever “it” may be) until I have exhausted all of my resources – it would be better to claim early on – I can’t do it…get out of my own way and let Him provide the strength, direction, the means…I am merely His instrument. In the above reading it mentions “the surrendered spirit”. Gratefully surrendered. I don’t have to do it on my own. Praise God!!
    Betsy – do share with us if/when your husband made it home, despite the storm (I pray). Father – be with those in the midst of this brutal storm. I pray that power outages will be minimal and people would make wise decisions. Protect those who will be aiding in the snow removal and in emergency situations. A special blessing to those working in medical facilities – perhaps trapped there by the storm.
    Grateful for simple blessings. Grateful for His Firm Grip. Grateful for this space here and for the people at UR who provide it.

  • Rusty January 23, 2016, 4:50 am

    Well said, Mary. Being poor in spirit doesn’t mean we have a weak spirit or that our spirit is poor in the sense that it isn’t adequately developed. Rather, it speaks of spiritually (in our hearts) believing we are truly without anything absent God, his grace and his promises. Our spirit is poor because it is empty (without God). We can’t survive on our own. Poor in spirit signifies a maturity about the reality that we need God; mature in accepting the fact we need to surrender to this and ultimately to him.

    • Rusty January 23, 2016, 4:54 am

      Well said, Jill, too! I think we posted at almost precisely the same moment. (And your mention of God’s Firm Grip – thanks.)

  • robert moeller January 23, 2016, 6:30 am

    I agree! Mary, Jill, and Rusty very well said. “We are nothing without God. You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule. Poor in spirit signifies a maturity about the reality that we need God; mature in accepting the fact we need to surrender to this and ultimately to him.”

    Yes, prayers for Betsy’s husband traveling this weather. Thankful for good news from WV, the snow is light and there is no wind. Thankful for ecumenical breakfast this morning.

    The Lord be with you!

  • Carol January 23, 2016, 7:37 am

    A rich, full, vibrant spirit needs no more, and would not really have room for the kingdom of God. We can only be a recipient of the blessing when we are empty; by choice, by illness, a continual draining, a hopeless, a submission, a maturity. It is by God’s grace that God’s kingdom is made available.

    I continue to wonder about what the “Kingdom of God” is.

    My uncle is sleeping mostly, a little more alert with a smile on his face when visitors come. Mostly sips on Boost and water. Really enjoyed the sweet moisture in blueberries I brought to him yesterday.

    Love of the staff is surrounding him and filling his room. God faithfully continues to reveal to me what my next step should be. Young staff/aides expressed there desire to attend hid memorial service if it would be held in the chapel on the grounds. That was quite an affirmation to me to move in that direction. Of course, it is not totally my decision and that is OK.

    Thank you for continued prayers.

  • Betsy January 23, 2016, 7:43 am

    Wonderful, insightful comments this morning. I also love the Message’s slant on the Beatitudes, Jill. We are blessed “to be at the end of our rope”; that is when God can enter and do great things. Thank you all for traveling prayers. My husband made it home after 11 long hours on slippery roads and near white out conditions. Winter weather is no fun when you travel!
    Thankful he’s home and safe; also a beautiful sunrise this morning and the promise of a sunny,crisp day. Blessings to you all, UR family.

  • Connie January 23, 2016, 8:00 am

    Poor in spirit means to me being empty of God’s Holy Spirit.
    I have been at the end of my “tether” many times in my life, but God has always pulled me up.
    The postings are all so inspiring. Thank you, all.

  • Andrea January 23, 2016, 8:35 am

    I echo everyone’s thoughts. Poor in spirit to me means acknowledging that we need God. We are weak on our own.
    Friends, I ask for your ongoing prayers for an uncomfortable skin condition I have had since the summer, that still goes undiagnosed.
    I pray for the safety and well-being all who are affected by the winter storm.
    Wishing blessings to everyone who visits here today.

  • Sara January 23, 2016, 9:38 am

    Poor in Spirit – I recall a past post on this Beatitude and it was so comforting to realize it was your need of God – how wonderful!!

    We are now in the midst of the snow storm and I pray for those who may, because of work or travel, be on the highway (our oldest son is in that situation now.) Continued prayers for Carol and her uncle – comfort them during this time. Betsy, thankful your husband had a safe, but tiring return. When working my husband traveled on his job and weather can make it a challenge. It’s not only snow, but fog, wind and thunderstorms can also delay travel.

    Blessings to all today and thankful for the uplifting and informative comments.

  • Sara January 23, 2016, 9:41 am

    Andrea, prayers for your skin condition and I pray for all who are treating you and may they find a solution for you. God bless you.

  • Ron January 23, 2016, 10:06 am

    As a Christian trying to understand, I see different opinions being expressed about what “poor in Spirit” means. My question is why did Jesus leave it so open to interpretation? Why didn’t He just say some of the things said in comments here if that is what He meant.

  • April January 23, 2016, 10:43 am

    Prayers for safety for all who are touched by the extreme weather conditions. Prayers for all who post here or in thought.
    Thankful that we are Blessed when we are poor in Spirit. Our pastor explained another meaning to Blessed in a recent sermon. Blessed means “God is with you”. So as we read the rest of the Beatitudes, no matter what causes you to be “poor”, or if you mourn, or hunger and thirst, etc…you are Blessed, “God is with you”. My response to this is to say thank you Lord, guide my life, Amen.

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