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I’ve been praying for an enemy lately. This person is not my enemy, but have made themselves one to a dear family member. It has burdened me so, that I’ve begun praying for this person as if they were my own personal adversary.
This has been an interesting experience to say the least. It is hard to remain upset with a person for whom you are praying. I could pray that God would make them stop acting a certain way. I could even be as bold as David and pray for their complete demise, but I decided to pray for something else.
People are driven by their heart’s desires. I recognize that in my situation, this person needs a heart change. It is certainly true that Jesus changes everything!
Even as Jesus died on the cross, He begged His Father to “forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” Prior to His personal experience on the cross, He said,
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; Matthew 5:44 (King James Bible)
This is the manifold wisdom of God that Ephesians 3:10 speaks of and highlights how God’s economy works so differently than the world’s economy and even our own natural reactions. Unlike how everyone else would expect us to act, we actually become that person’s intercessor. Whaaaatttt???
When a person attacks a Christ follower, it invites them to pray for that person in Christ’s directive, not retaliate, not snub, not slander, but pray. This is a beautiful thing!
“Do good to them that hate you; such as hate you in their hearts, and discover their hatred by their actions; do not make returns in the same way, but on the contrary, do them all the good you can; perform all the kind offices that lie in your power; let them partake of your bounty and liberality; if poor, feed, clothe, and supply them, as you are able, with the necessaries of life; and give them wholesome advice for the good of their souls: by “so doing”, you will “heap coals of fire on their heads”; of enemies, make them friends; engage their affections to you, and you may be happy instruments in doing them good, both in soul and body” Gills Exposition on Matthew 5:44
I can tell you this can be a terribly difficult thing to do, especially when the “enemy” is relentless and the conflict is serious. BUT, that does not change the fact that God still expects His followers to pray for them anyway. In the event you have such a situation and still think this is too much to ask, do it anyway…God is faithful! He honors the order that He establishes. Pray on!
Gina Duke is the award-winning author of Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray (Abingdon Press), that introduces the gift of structured prayer journaling. You can enjoy her weekly #ShePrayerJournals weekend workshops on YouTube, and follower her on Twitter and Instagram at @TheGinaDuke.