From: Pastor B
The prayer focus today is courage and confidence. Most of us know that the name of Jesus is offensive to some people who don’t have a relationship with Him. The Bible says blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, this beatitude may strike us as negative. Up to this point, the beatitudes have focused on humility, meekness, right relationships, mercy, purity of heart, and peacemaking—all positive qualities. But Jesus includes the possibility of “persecution for righteousness’ sake.” This arises from the previous seven, because the forces that oppose God’s ways still hold strong power in the world.
Note that persecution arising from unrighteous behavior is not blessed. If we fail through our own fault, we should expect to suffer negative consequences. Jesus is talking about the blessing of being persecuted for doing right. But why would we be persecuted for righteousness? The reality in a fallen world is that if we demonstrate genuine righteousness, many will reject us. Jesus elaborates by pointing out that the prophets who, like Him, announced God’s kingdom were persecuted (Matt. 5:11-12). We have to stand strong during these trying times.
Even the best organizations and most admirable people are still tainted by the Fall. None are perfect. This beatitude serves as a reminder to us that living out the qualities described in the beatitudes in a fallen world requires courage.
“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.”
~ Philippians 1:20
Thank You for hearing our prayers. Today, we ask for courage. We are dealing with fears that You have no part in as Your word tells us that You did not give us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. Lord help us to be brave when we face opposition because of Your name and righteousness. Give us strength and confidence (in Jesus) to press on when we doubt ourselves and the enemy comes to attack and distract us. We pray for our brothers and sisters in the middle east who suffer a greater persecution because they serve You. Lord, may Your people continue to seek hope, strength and protection from You as we all stand on the firm foundation of Christ. In Jesus’ name. Amen.