Hello ladies! Happy Thursday. I realize this is getting out much later in the day than usual but I hope you will forgive me. The day snuck up on me and when I realized what I had written down to write about I needed some extra time to pray about what direction to take it.
Today, my plan is to talk about prayer. It is a huge subject that could be looked at a thousand different ways. I want to scale back and look at one aspect of prayer that I think often gets overlooked. We are really good at going to God and asking for what we (or a loved one) needs. That part of prayer (known as supplication) is something in which we are well versed. Today, I want to shift our focus to something we do not like doing. Something that many of us might sign up to eat kale or run a marathon before we would ever want to add this to our prayer lives. And that is, praying for our enemies.
Yep, were going there today. Don’t shut your window just yet though. I think God is going to give us some gems and bless us in ways we wouldn’t expect. First, somewhat of a testimony. At the start of this year my pastor initiated a 21 day challenge and instructed us to choose something to do over the next 21 days that would being us closer to the Lord. Because I had already made goals of reading the Bible chronologically, going deeper with my prayer life, joining a life group and having regular church attendance I wasn’t really sure where to go with such a challenge. And then God placed on my heart the idea of praying for my enemies. Ouch. God are you entirely sure about this because I will gladly give up sugar (my kryptonite) and eat kale all month long if you’d rather. I mean honestly I am not even in contact with any of these people but praying for them just wasn’t how I thought I would like to spend my time. But God was certain and so I began to eke out prayers for people who in my fleshly opinion didn’t deserve my time. Prayers for people I would gladly leave in the past. Prayers for people I didn’t even really know how to pray for. And then the most amazing thing happened. God shifted my focus from “God I would really rather have nothing to do with said person” to “Amber, these too are my image bearers and need my presence in their lives”. These are people, as I said, I have no contact with however praying for them has gone from a burden to a blessing.
Matthew 5:44 (kjv) But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.
We are told to pray for our enemies. It’s a backwards upside down Kingdom we live under. He is God of the hard and of the wonderful. He is -not- however a God who commands us to do things just to make us squirm in our seats. So, why then must we pray for our enemies? If we continue reading in Matthew 5 (in fact, the very next verse) we find that God’s heart in instructing us to do so is that we would become like our Father.
Matthew 5:45 – That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
When we pray, the scales fall off of our eyes and we can see more clearly. This does not mean that all of the sudden everything someone did to hurt us is made right. It does not mean we disregard our boundaries and re-friend the person who harmed us. Unless of course that is where God should direct you. In my experience, praying for my enemies has softened my heart towards the hurt they caused and allowed me to give them grace. Perhaps they hurt me because they were hurt themselves, people are sinful and hurt people hurt people.
Often our first inclination is that these people should have to pay for hurting us. Something should happen to them to show them just how much they negatively impacted our lives. However, revenge is not ours to be had that is left in God’s hands. Our role is to pray and to forgive.
“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” – C.S. Lewis
So we pray for our enemies and then what?
It heaps burning coals on their head. Honestly, check out Romans 12:20. Our hearts are softened as we bring our enemy to the foot of the cross. We (hopefully) begin to see God’s loving Kindness through our situation and have any chains their pain may have caused released. It is a hard calling, but a beautiful meaningful one.
So friends, today would you take even just a few moments to stop and pray for your enemies. We all have them, those people who have hurt us, mistreated us or at the very least bugged the stew out of us (as my pastor is prone to saying). Bring them to the foot of the cross. I can guarantee you, you will be blessed. God doesn’t ask us to do hard things without reward. There is always a purpose and blessing to follow!
Soli deo gloria!