Praying for Those Who Seek to Harm You
Key Verse to Read and Treasure:
You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you—Matthew 5:43-44 (ESV)
This might be a very good way to end a week of being focused on the subject prayer. Prayer is one of those inexhaustible subjects that we can’t say or write too much about and no matter how many times we come to Jesus’ command to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us it can still be challenging. Even the most seasoned Christian may struggle with this area of prayer.
We all have enemies. Somewhere along the road of life we have had and will have those who don’t care for us and seek to do harm. An enemy isn’t just someone who doesn’t like us, it’s someone who seeks to bring harm or malign us in some way, someone who does their best to undermine and persecute us. We don’t always know why, maybe we wore green on the day they disliked green. Maybe we come from a family they don’t like. Maybe we bumped their chair at the lunch table. Maybe we possess gifts and talents they wish they had.
Jesus knew he had enemies, and he knew why. His enemies were fierce and sought to not only malign and persecute him but bring an end to his ministry and life. Jesus was an expert on enemy activity. He had more enemies in his brief life than we will ever have even if we live to be over one hundred. Jesus also knows human inclination is to hate those who hate us and give back to them what they give to us. But he took another path and instructs us to take a different path in the way we react and respond. Jesus says instead of hating those who hate us, love them. Instead of talking badly about those who persecute us, pray for them. In this way we will truly be like Him; we will be our Father’s son and daughter in the truest sense.
Praying for enemies is not easy and cannot be done without the help and power of the Holy Spirit. There is no easy way to pray for our enemies except to humble ourselves before God, realizing that before Christ died for our sins, we were also enemies of God. Humbled by what Paul says in that we all are sinners and fall short of the glory of God, in need of grace and mercy.
Father, I want to be more like you! I need to be more like the Jesus in the way I treat my enemies. He prayed for his enemies with his dying breath, surely I can manage to pray for those who persecute me with the life-breath I have been given. Amen
One a Scale of 1-10
How well do you do in this area? Can you pause right now and pray for someone who is an enemy?
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