Christianity -- Christian Living/prayer for enemies
QUESTION: In Matt.5:44 our Lord tells us to pray for those who spitefully use and persecute us. What would that kind of prayer look like? If for example my boss was purposefully making things difficult for me? Do you know what I mean?
ANSWER: Hi Al, Thank you for this fantastic question. Praying for your enemies is where the rubber meets the road regarding true Christianity. Here is another passage that helps us understand these concepts:
Romans 12:17–21 (AV)
17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
True forgiveness is the surrender of your claim for retribution toward the offender. It is a sweet release or surrender of your rightful claim to payback. Once that has happened you can go ahead and pray for those who are your enemies. I hope that this helps you.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Pastor Don,
Thanks for your scriptural response. Again let me press this further. What would this kind of prayer look like? Let me start it off. "Heavenly Father I ask...
Thanks for your follow up question. I do not pray rehearsed prayers. I would advise you to think of the needs you know about in your particular enemy... does he have family problems... what makes him angry in the first place? As you start to pray, ask God to help you know how to pray more intelligently for your enemy. The more you think things through to pray for his specific needs, the more your heart will melt toward him... it is good for you as well as him.
I hope that this helps you.