Jesus told us to love our enemies but not only that, to pray for them but how can we pray for someone who hates us?
Pray for God to Bless Them
This might seem to be the most difficult thing do to. It certainly is diametrically opposed to the ways of the world but Jesus said that we should “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt 5:45). We might never be more like God than when we pray for those who persecute us because God “sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” We should ask God to bless them and not wish them any harm so that God would help them because we ourselves used to be enemies of God, remember (Rom 5:10)?
Understand that they are Blinded
Can you think back to the time before you were saved? Did we do anything to deserve God’s grace? How can we expect those who are blind and without God’s Spirit to know the things of God. Why should we be angry with them? Would we be angry with a blind man who stumbled into us? No, because it’s not his fault so please remember that Satan has blinded those who disbelieve (2 Cor 4:4). Ask yourself, how “will [they] come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants” (2 Tim 2:26). Pray for the Holy Spirit to open their minds and have the scales removed from their eyes so that they might see the glorious light of the life-giving gospel so that they might be saved.
Pray for God’s Glory
The more souls that are saved, the more that will fall down and worship God on the day of His visitation and the more God will be glorified so pray for those who are now your enemies to be saved so that more will be worshiping Christ at His glorious return. God seeks those who will glorify Him. Just think about how even Saul became a Paul through the power of God. Today, “there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ” (Phil 3:18) so how greatly would this glorify God if someone who used to be a God-hater became a God-lover and who previously was an enemy of the cross (like we were at one time) now falls at the foot of the cross. That surely will glorify God and that is what we should always be praying for…that souls would be saved and that God would be glorified in it.
To Soften Their Hearts
God had to break me before I humbled myself. I had to be broken before God could fix me. I had to come to the end of myself before God was my only hope. I was so full of myself that God could never have filled me up. In the same way, ask God to humble your enemies so that they might see their need for God’s intervention. Pray that God would convict their conscience so that they might see the need for forgiveness and the Savior and pray for them to come to the end of their rope only to find that God has tied a knot in it and is there waiting for them.
Pray for those who persecute you and love them with the same love that God displayed for us at the cross of Calvary…saving us while we were still wicked, evil sinners and His enemies. Praying for your enemies will soften your own heart because you’ll realize, there we go except for the grace of God.
May God richly bless you,
Pastor Jack Wellman[ssba]
Image source: CC BY JanetR3
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