My every sense, member, faculty, affection, is a snare to me, I can scarce open my eyes but I envy those above me, or despise those below. I covet honour and riches of the mighty, and am proud and unmerciful to the rags of others; If I behold beauty it is a bait to lust, or see deformity, it stirs up loathing and disdain; How soon do slanders, vain jests, and wanton speeches creep into my heart!
Am I comely? what fuel for pride! Am I deformed? what an occasion for repining! Am I gifted? I lust after applause! Am I learned? how despise what I have not! Am I in authority? how prone to abuse my trust, make my will my law, exclude others’ enjoyments, serve my own interests and policy! Am I inferior? how much I grudge others’ pre-eminence! Am I rich? how exalted I become!
Thou knowest that all these are snares by my corruptions, and that my greatest snare is myself. I bewail that my apprehensions are dull, my thoughts mean, my affections stupid, my expressions low, my life unbeseeming; Yes what canst thou expect of dust but levity, of corruption but defilement? Keep me ever mindful of my natural state, but let me not forget my heavenly title, or the grace that can deal with every sin.
Author Unknown. (2003). Self-Deprecation. The Valley of Vision (pp. 132-33). Edinburgh, UK: Banner of Truth Trust
This prayer is a very clear picture of what it means to be poor in spirit. It is coming to end of yourself, coming to an end of your own righteousness, being fed up with trying to gain any approval from God on your own (because you can’t), throwing it all away and throwing yourself in reverence and awe at the cross where Jesus died.
It is humbly admitting you are broken, dying, sick, disabled, and have nothing to offer the Savior at all and that before your conversion, you were dead in sin. It is being honest about your sin, your deceitfulness, the wickedness of your heart, that every corner and crevice of your life, exposed and hidden, is laid bare before the eyes of the Lord. It is then confessing these things in the sincerity of your heart and throwing your trust on Jesus Christ, everyday, that He paid for and covered all of these deeds by His blood in His covenant of grace (that is if you believe in Him).
Apart from Christ, all the consequences of these deeds, even the secret things no one knows about, will be dealt with for all eternity because the offense is infinite. I plead with you by the grace of Christ to believe in Him and He will wash away all of your filthy stains and make you as white as snow by His pure, undefiled blood.