The First 15

Thursday September 8, 2022

by Jan Davis

Today is Thursday, September 8 and we are praying through the Beatitudes.

Opening Prayer

Loving God, as a new day begins I breathe deeply and pause to rest in You. Quiet my mind, still my wandering thoughts and fill my heart with love. Lead me into the mystery of holy silence and hold me close to Your heart.

Pause and Pray

Blessed Lord Jesus, I have come here to listen to Your voice and receive the wisdom of Your teaching. Shine your light on the path of my life and reveal the way You want me to proceed in all things. Amen.

Scripture Reading

I seek the Lord my God and call out to Him with the words of Psalm 119.

How long must your servant wait? When will you punish my persecutors? The arrogant dig pits to trap me, contrary to your law. All your commands are trustworthy; help me, for I am being persecuted without cause. Psalm 119:84-86

Pause and Pray

In the last of the eight Beatitudes, Jesus turns to the grim reality his followers will face – persecution. One would expect that a person possessing the first seven attributes of a faithful believer (poverty of spirit, grief over sin, is meek and merciful, hungers after righteousness and works to bring peace) would be adored by the world and revered for their goodness. But Jesus understood the brokenness of human nature and knows the treatment his followers can expect in the world. When Christians seek righteousness and holiness, they will be persecuted.*

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:9-10


The ones who are persecuted are the righteous, the holy ones, those born of the Spirit, who live Godly lives in Jesus Christ. Those who love God and neighbor and do good to all people should expect persecution. This is a difficult teaching for Christ followers. But Jesus said the world hated him and therefore the world will hate me. Jesus said the world persecuted him and they will also persecute me. (John 15:18-20) Despite my goodness and love for others, I should expect the world to misunderstand and mistreat me. John Wesley said, “The reason is plain: the spirit which is in the world is directly opposed to the Spirit which is of God.” *

Ask: What does Christian persecution look like in my day and time? When have I experienced persecution as a follower of Jesus?

Pause and Pray

I love you, Lord Jesus. Thank You for teaching me to expect persecution and hardship as one of Your disciples. Thank You for the hope of Your blessing and the promise that the kingdom of heaven will be mine. Let me never stop pursuing righteousness or reverse progress toward holiness but press on in the power of Your grace. I read the words from Matthew again and listen for the message you have for me.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:9-10

Ask: What image, word or phrase stands out to me when I slowly read this passage? What is God trying to say to me through these words of scripture?

Pause and Pray

God is speaking to my soul this morning and I endeavor to listen. I consider how forms of persecution have been part of my past. My present. What losses have I suffered for righteousness? What difference does Jesus’ promise make in my life – that the blessing of persecution is in finding the kingdom of heaven. How might this scripture change my perspective about a circumstance with which I am currently struggling? How might Jesus’ promise prepare me for persecution I might encounter in the future?

Pause and Pray

Come, Lord Jesus, speak boldly into my current situation, I will not shy away from the holiness You desire for my life. I invite You into my circumstances and ask You to speak truth to me and others. Reveal your righteousness and help me find the kingdom of heaven you promise. Amen.

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. John 15:18-20

*Resources: Sermons on Several Occasions, Volume II – Upon Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount: Discourse Three, by John Wesley, edited by William J. Abraham, 2021.

Closing Prayer

I leave this time of prayer seeking the kingdom of heaven on earth. I go to love my enemies and pray for those who persecute me.


The First 15

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