A Prayer for Your Enemies
By Emma Danzey
Matthew 5:44 says, “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
It is extremely easy to pray for those in our families, our friends, and for ourselves. However, it is a whole new ballgame when we realize that Jesus called us not only to pray for those whom we like but also for our enemies. He even goes as far as to say to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. This means the bullies, the evil leaders, the harsh coworkers, the rough family members, and the most terrible of people can be prayed for in the power of Jesus.
Who do you feel is your enemy today? Who in your life is overwhelmingly discouraging or wrong to you? Jesus is not saying that we should be victimized and abused, so please set healthy boundaries in place. He is, however, saying that we are called to pray for those who are difficult and hurtful. We cannot do this on our own, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can have true strength to pray over those who seem the furthest away from Christ. We can remember the apostle Paul as we pray. He started out as Saul, a persecutor of Christians, and killed them. Then, Jesus pursued him, and he came to faith in Christ, changing his name to Paul. We never know if a person was praying for Saul to know Jesus. A man who appeared to be a great enemy of the church then became one of the greatest evangelists of all time. We have to remember that Jesus is capable of changing any heart.
I know that ultimately my greatest enemy is the Devil. There is a real spiritual battle going on all around me. The great enemy is using people around me to accomplish his work. Help me to remember this when others hurt or persecute me for my faith in You. Father, would You please give me Your heart of forgiveness and hope for my enemies? Ephesians 6:10-12 says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Would You enable me to love them well and live like You in front of them? Even when they try to get me down, help me to be strong in you and have the full armor of God on.
God help me to remember that Paul started off as Saul, and if you could transform the life of a Christian killer, you can change any heart. Help me not to put those who live against me in a box. Remind me that You say in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” God, give me this same heart that desires repentance and transformation. Help me not to lose hope that You are working. Give me the words to pray over them.
Lord, please save the souls of those who are my enemies. Show them Your love and Your salvation. Give them the same joy that I have been given to be Your child. I pray that I would not hinder them from seeing Christ, but I would encourage them and show them true love through You.
God, I pray for those who seem like enemies but claim to be believers in You. Help me to love the body of Christ well, even those with whom I disagree or feel hurt. We are all broken and I pray that you would bless them and meet them in whatever they are going through and help me to be loving and kind by Your Spirit. I pray against the attacks of the true enemy who wants to divide and ruin the work of believers. I pray that my enemy in the church would see true forgiveness and love in me.
Father, I was once Your enemy. Colossians 1:21-22 says, “Once you were alienated from God and were hostile in your minds, engaging in evil deeds. But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy, unblemished, and blameless in His presence.” Thank You for the way that You have reconciled me, a former enemy of You. Help me to extend this opportunity of grace through Jesus to others. Amen.
Photo credit: ©SalemDesign/BethanyPyle
Emma enjoys singing/songwriting, fitness classes, trying new recipes, home makeover shows, and drinking tea! During her ministry career, Emma recorded two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, ran the Refined Magazine, and served in music education for early childhood. Emma also had the privilege of having been a national spokesperson for Mukti Mission based out of India. Mukti has been working to restore shattered lives in India for over 120 years. You can view her articles through her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com
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