Do I Have Enemies? Learning to Pray for Those who are our Enemies
Enemies can gain control over us. Brad reminds us that we are to love our enemies, just as Christ did. One way to accomplish this is by prayer.
I read an article in “More To Life” magazine which said:
“Have you noticed an assortment of difficult people to be in your life? If so, I understand! Many years ago, I felt deeply hurt by a family member whose tongue and tartness were consistently cruel. I simply prayed, “God, I don’t know what to do.”
A short time later, I saw a scripture I’d never noticed before:
I Samuel 12:23, “as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the lord by failing to pray for you.”
The truth is, I had not been praying for her—nor had that thought even crossed my mind. Yet, motivated by this verse, I began praying… And eventually healing began, both in our relationship and in my heart.
Pray For Our Enemies
Matthews gospel reminds us to pray for our enemies…
Matt 5:44 “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 may feel drawn to these merciful words of Jesus, but we feel resistant when challenged to actually do it, to obey his command. It runs counter to our nature.
From a human standpoint, genuinely praying for our enemies seems impossible. But of course, the bible says, “with God, nothing is impossible” (Luke 1:37)
We know as well, ” the spirit helpeth our infirmities, for we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered”
Praying for our enemies is not optional—it is commanded by Christ.
Stephen (in the midst of being stoned to death) … fell on his knees and cried out,
“Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”
We know on the cross, Jesus cried out:
“Father forgive them, for they know not what they do!”
I Don’t Have Real Enemies
We often allow ourselves to be fixated on the “enemy” part of this verse… when most of us would declare: I don’t have any REAL enemies”. “Enemy” after all, is such a strong word. It conjures up images of violence, and weapons, the infliction of physical pain.
But laying whatever terminology aside, the underlying concept of the verse is to “do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you”. We all certainly have “enemies” that fit into that category… those who just simply get under our skin, who frustrate us!
Often, one who frustrates one, may frustrate many… those that are sowing seeds of bitterness, often plant a full garden. But we need to be mindful to continue in prayer for them. Not to label them simply as “trouble”, and leave them in the desert wasteland of our Christian consideration. GOD writes no one off, and neither should we.
When we’re not mindful of those who despitefully use us, we are disobeying gods command. Would god ask us to do something, that makes no sense?
Praying for our enemies, means “a commitment to seek the highest good for another person.” the “highest good” for those who are genuinely wrong is that their hearts become genuinely right.
The intent, …”highest good,” first means salvation through Christ for an unbeliever… And, if already a believer, being transformed into the character of Christ would be the “highest good.”
Obviously, there must be some unmet need in their lives—or they would not cause us so much pain.
Therefore, we can pray, that they see their need for the savior… Would let the Lord meet their unmet needs…allow the lord to heal what is broken.
Are we not the benefactor, when we pray for those that do us ill? What happens to our heart, when we take on the spirit of Christ, to bring before him those that treat us poorly? We become “like him”, we put the offense on the backburner
As we pray for healing for them, is our spirit not healed?
Most of the time, we feel those that frustrate us, know what they’re doing. Undoubtedly, that is true. But we read in Johns gospel:
“a new command I give you, love one another, as I have loved you, so you must love one another.” We don’t get a PASS, just because the antagonist is conscious of the pain they inflict upon us.
For many reasons God commands us to pray for those who’ve wronged us.
Prayer Insulates us From Bitterness.
When we look at our enemy’s need instead of the fault, God begins to change our own hearts. When I pray… even if my enemy doesn’t change, I CHANGE. Through prayer, our hearts and minds are aligned with God’s heart and mind.
You can’t pray for someone consistently—without developing compassion for that person. And that is a beautiful thing to experience.
Prayer Allows us to be Controlled by the Spirit
When we refuse to pray for our enemies, we give them illegitimate power over us. When we are in the presence of our offender, we react emotionally—and even physiologically. Therefore, our enemies are still controlling us! However, we can turn control of our lives over to the lord… We can begin to pray and then forgive… Even when we don’t feel like it.
What tremendous freedom when we allow Christ, rather than other people, to control our thoughts and emotions!
One way to pray for those who have hurt us is to consider the fruit that should be growing in our lives: Gal 5:22-23:
“the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”
Take each aspect of the fruit and turn it into a prayer.
Our hearts and lives will grow as a garden; filled with love, forgiveness, blessing, and above all, God glorifying strength.
Let’s honor the command today, to pray for our enemies….that “supplications, prayers, intercessions & giving of thanks be made for all men.”
Brad offers up practical, scriptural advice from a perspective borne out of everyday life encounters. As we live and move and have our being…it’s the individual life lessons that most often present the greatest challenges, but can yield the richest blessings. We’ve all, as Christians had those faith affirming moments, where we’ve had an overwhelming sense of God’s spirit, or his very presence “at a particular but, maybe random time”.
Brad was born and still resides in a small community in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, where he and his wife Karen raised their 3 children. Brad & Karen fellowship at the Greenland Bible Chapel, where Brad serves as an elder. Brad loves meeting and engaging with people. His background in sales has provided opportunities to travel throughout the US and Canada, networking with people from all walks of life. Brad is a singer/songwriter, and has recorded 3 Christian albums. Songs from his “Brighter Day” release, have aired on Christian Radio stations across Canada and two of Brad’s albums are on HopeStreamRadio’s playlist.
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Images Courtesy Of:
Angry man in hoodie – peterziegler
Dawn Prayer – Pexels
Smiling woman – StockSnap
Yell – Epyc_Wynn
Man with head in hands – StockSnap