Part II: Praying the Beatitudes Backwards

By Inés Velásquez-McBryde

June 21, 2020

Scripture – Matthew 5:9 (NRSV)

“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons and daughters of God.”


In this familiar passage of the Sermon on the Mount, it is easy for us to insert ourselves and our desire to receive individual blessings. However, Jesus is speaking to a crowd with collective, historical pain. It’s a communal message, not an individual message. What would it look like to turn the message into a prayer of confession with an outward facing Kingdom imagination?


Oh God, I want to inherit the kingdom of heaven, but I don’t want proximity to the poor in spirit.

Oh God, I love to receive your comfort, but I don’t want to know the causes of discomfort of those that mourn.

Oh God, I want to inherit the earth, but the idea of being meek or gentle is revolting to my pride and ego.

Oh God, I want to be satisfied in my own personal thirsts and appetites, but I don’t have a hunger nor thirst for your Kingdom Justice.

Oh God, I love to receive mercy, but I have been hurt or taken advantage of many a time before, so that I do not want to be merciful.

Oh God, I want to see your face, but that would involve seeing and confessing the sin that so easily entangles my impure heart and motives.

Oh God, I want to be called a daughter and a son of God, but I want to just keep the peace, not work for peace.

Oh God, I want to take part in the kingdom of heaven but I want no part in being persecuted for the sake of your justice and righteousness.

Oh God, I have said and thought all kinds of evil when I have insulted your children and persecuted them because of me, not loved them because of You.

Oh God, have mercy on me and may the message on the mount be lived out in me.


How does flipping the order of the beatitudes change your perspective and what does it reveal about your heart?


Rewrite the beatitudes in a way that seems fitting for you, to reflect what the heart of the beatitudes is drawing out of you. Journal and pray them out this week as you watch the news. How are they still a message for today?


Jesus, may we sit at your feet as you sit on the mount. May the heart of your message cut to the heart of our misses and mistakes. May we be the students and you the divine teacher. May we reflect and rest on every word that pierces, convicts and comforts. May the heartbeat of this message give us life and breath in our life’s message. May we live into this message, that others would recognize the one that has sent us with this message. Help us be brave and courageous. Grant us grace that points to your grace. Amen.

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Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Commentary on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: “Blessed are the Peacemakers, For They Will be Called Children of God” (Matt 5:9)

Inés Velásquez-McBryde

Chaplain at Fuller Theological Seminary & Pastor, Preacher, Speaker

Inés is an ordained pastor, preacher, reconciler, writer, and speaker. We are pleased to feature Inés as a regular Life for Leaders writer. On June 15, 2019, Inés received her Master of Divinity degree from the School of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary where she now serves as...

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