Loving & Praying for Our Enemies
Jesus speaking: “I say to you, love your enemies, bless those cursing you, do good to those hating you, and pray for those accusing you falsely, and persecuting you.” –Matthew 5:44 (YLT)
Living in a fallen world means that hurts, repeated offenses, and occasional enemies are the norm, not the exception. Our Christian faith, hope, and grace gives us a context within which we can deal with these people and move from hurt, anger, and despair to prayer for love, acceptance, and forgiveness. We cannot control others who make hurtful offenses against us, but we can control how we respond to them. For most Christians, resisting our human nature of taking revenge, can be difficult. 1 Peter 3:9-12 says, "Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” (NIV). G. K. Chesterton wrote, “The problem with Christianity is not that it has been tried and found wanting but that it has been found difficult and left untried.” Praying for our enemies is an exquisitely reasonable precept because we cannot change the other person’s heart; and while it is unchanged he will continue to hurt us. Since God alone can change a heart, we must beg and implore Him, interceding in prayer, to do that which will at once secure the other person's change of heart, mind, and attitude to bring either salvation, renewal, transformation, or healing to them and thereby give us His peace. As you pray, humbly ask the Holy Spirit to help you forgive them and how to specifically love them so that they have proof that you love them. Let’s pray together…
Father God, Lord of Love, Heart-Changer, Hope-Filled Renewer and Transformer, Maker of All Things Possible, we exalt You. Thank You for Your love, blessing, goodness, and kindness poured generously and freely into us. We glorify Your Name. Thank You for sending Jesus to show us how to love, forgive, accept, and pray for others, including our enemies. Fill us with Your resurrection power to put Your love into action as Your disciples, heaping up Your hot love and sharing it with our enemies to burn away bitterness and to seal up open wounds. We pray in the mighty Name of Jesus, amen.