Pray for Your Enemies

Joy Petroelje

READ : Matthew 5:43-48

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (v. 44)

Over the past several days we’ve thought much about prayer. We’ve looked at the prayers of biblical characters as well as the Lord’s Prayer and rejoiced in knowing we pray to a loving God.

We have also considered intercession, the act of praying on behalf of others. We may find it very easy to pray for those we love. It’s a blessing to ask for God’s hand of healing or protection or guidance for those we care deeply about. But how about our enemies? What about asking God to shine his face on the jealous co-worker, or the school bully, or the family member we are at odds with? This isn’t easy, and we struggle to follow Jesus’ teaching here. We are tempted to look past this all-important part of our prayer life. Yet God’s word is clear.

Both the Old and New Testaments speak to the attitude we must have toward those who persecute us. Proverbs 25:21 encourages us to meet the basic needs of our enemies. In Romans 12 Paul implores the early church to “bless those who persecute you” (v. 14) and “repay no one evil for evil” (v. 17).

Praying for our enemies blesses the heart of God. This act of worship also allows us to experience the words of Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

PRAYER

Lord, please bless my enemies today according to your will.