The last item to add to you prayer list may be the most difficult – enemies.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 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; 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. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? (Mat 5:43-46)
They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul. But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom. I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother.
Pray for Them
Jesus commanded His followers to pray for their enemies. How do you decide if someone is your enemy or not? You decide by how they treat you. A person is your enemy when:
- They curse you.
- They hate you.
- They despitefully use you.
- They persecute you.
Jesus said we are to treat them well based on our character, not treated them poorly based on their character. In other words, we are to keep on acting like God’s children, regardless of how the people around us act.
Part of that process is praying for those who mistreat us. We are to lift them up in prayer. We are to bless them to their face and before the God’s face. This isn’t natural – it’s supernatural. It’s not normal – it’s Christian.
David said he prayed for his enemies in their sickness. He mourned and fasted for them as if it had been his own mom. (Now, that’s godly character.) Despite that, they still mistreated him. I hope you realize that praying for your enemies isn’t a psychological trick you use in an attempted to get them to like you. We do it because it’s right, not for the result. If they change – wonderful! If not, we’ve still done right, and our prayer returns as a blessing to us.
What About You?
- Do you have enemies – people who mistreat you?
- Are you praying for them the way Jesus commanded you to?