blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

Matthew 5:1-3 (ESV)

1 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

So what does it mean to be poor in spirit?

Does it literally mean poor? Penniless? Destitute?

Is Jesus not talking about a spiritual state here rather than a temporal one?

I imagine He is telling them that those who inherit the kingdom of heaven need to be humble. Empty of pride. Devoid of haughtiness.

If we are to receive God’s forgiveness then this makes perfect sense.

For it is when we acknowledge our failings before Christ – our sinfulness and rejection of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ – that we can then receive the many “blessings” of God.

Like David in Psalm 51, we need to come before our maker, asking for a “clean heart”.

We need to heed the words of Jesus and “repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).

It is through this simple action that our relationship with the author and sustainer of life can be restored.

Yet ironically this restitution is not the result of our own efforts, so that we cannot “boast”, but through God’s saving grace (2 Corinthians 10:17).

For lauding our cleverness and spiritual insight is the antithesis of humility. And that is essentially what’s at the heart of this passage.


prayer : help me not to be proud or boastful LORD but instead contrite and humble

action : practice humility and “boast in the cross” (Galatians 6:14)

pray to your Father who is in secret

“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:6 (ESV)

Listening to the John Piper sermon entitled, “Praying in the Closet and in the Spirit” I was reminded of both the necessity to pray intentionally and to pray spontaneously.

Intentional prayer is disciplined, regular, scheduled prayer time.

Such as first thing in the morning when you wake up.

Or at the start of a church meeting and band practice.

Or with your spouse just before bedtime.

Or with the family at mealtime.

And spontaneous prayer is unscheduled, unplanned, and reactionary. A spur of the moment decision based on particular circumstances at that time.

Such as when you receive an email from a missionary requesting prayer.

Or when you’re talking to a friend who tells you of some important need.

Or when you’re struggling in the middle of an exam and require guidance.

Or perhaps you feel the need to give thanks for something that has literally just happened.

Both types are important and neither should be excluded from our prayer life.

Yet, it’s easy to neglect prayer.

Too easy to push God to the back of our minds and lives.

Yet on the flip side, our prayer life shouldn’t be a public spectacle.

It’s not meant to be a show that lauds our “righteousness” and “spirituality”.

Rather, it is an acknowledgement of our humble need for a God who is all-powerful.

A God who desires to answer our prayers, according to His will.

“For everyone who asks receives” (Matthew 7:8).


prayer : help me to be more disciplined in my prayer life

action : schedule regular prayer times each day