Pray for Your Enemies?
Every night before we eat our evening meal, my family says a prayer. Not only do we thank the Lord for our meal, but we pray for our country, our loved ones and those in need. We pray for the Lord to guide, heal and to enter the hearts of others. It is easy to pray for those we love, of course, and any one or anything else we may have an interest in. Praying for our country is easy, we want our country to succeed. Praying for a friend or loved one to let God into their hearts is also easy. We want to see them heaven after all.
“Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.” Psalm 107:1-3 (ESV)
What about the people we don’t like? What about those who have harmed us? Who have hurt us? Who have broken our hearts? How about those who have become our enemies? Do we pray for them? Do we pray that the Lord enters theirs hearts? It is easy for us to pray that our enemies have a change of heart so that we may live in peace. Perhaps it is not so easy to pray that they live in peace, that they find salvation.
‘If you have a resentment you want to be free of, if you will pray for the person or the thing that you resent, you will be free. If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free…” Big Book, Freedom from Bondage, p. 552
In recovery, we are told that if we pray for our enemies it will free ourselves from resentment and anger we have towards that other person. That the emotional hurt will ease. We will began to see the other with compassion and acceptance. Even the Lord has commanded us to forgive our enemies.
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28 NIV
It is hard to pray for those who have harmed us. Sometimes the harm seems unforgivable and it could very well be, but it is not ours to shoulder the burden of the sin, the foul deed. It is the Lord’s job to make the judgment. One can forgive the sin and pray for the sinner without condoning the act. In the forgiving is the release. We are not responsible for others bad acts. Praying for them to find the Lord, to have good things in their lives, for their healing will bring all those things to yourself. It may or may not change them, but it will change you.
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13 NIV