Matthew 5:43-45Jesus said, “You have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.”
There are times when others will misunderstand, mistreat, or persecute us, and it’s hard not to respond to such treatment by retaliating or rejecting those who act that way toward us.
That would be the way the unredeemed world naturally reacts. But Jesus says in these verses that we are to offer a radically different response: we are to love and pray for our enemies; in other words, we are to respond with the energy of prayer instead of the energy of hate.
This approach upholds a basic foundation of our faith—that God is love, that his love is for all people, whether friend or foe toward us, and that he desires that not one would perish but that all would come to eternal life. When we pray for our enemies, we are not only partnering with Christ in his redemptive purposes but also becoming more like our Father in heaven.
Ask God to give you a specific Scripture verse to pray for your “enemies” whenever they come to mind. Instead of dwelling on a negative thought about them, displace the negative thought. Praying God’s heart for someone will soon produce a reflection of his love in your own.
LORD, please fill my heart with compassion for [insert name(s)]. Help me to pray for these people and to bless, not curse, them. I can do this only as I look to you as my example. Thank you for dying on the cross for me so that I could be reconciled to the Father. Let my heart respond to my enemies, even as your heart was poured out on their behalf.
Never cease loving a person and never give up hope for him, for even the prodigal son who had fallen most low could still be saved. The bitterest enemy and also he who was your friend could again be your friend; love that has grown cold can kindle again.
We remain fruitful as we love the way Christ does. We remain fruitful as we pray for our enemies as Christ did especially as seen in His prayer at the cross. Our fruitfulness will multiple as we keep focus on the bigger picture of the heart of God for all humanity.