Day 1: Spiritual Love for Our Enemies: Pray for Them
You know what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.”
Sounds good in theory, Jesus! In practice? Not so much.
But the verse says a lot about why it’s so hard to truly love our enemies. It requires us to become more like Jesus in a tangible way. This is no parable He’s telling; it’s a truth from His own life He wants us to emulate. Preaching it isn’t enough. We have to practice it. But how?
Fortunately, Jesus gives us the answer. Hint: PRAY!
Christians have no more potent weapon than prayer. Matthew 18:18 makes it clear: “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven.” So it makes sense that He also asks us to employ this powerful tool in loving our earthly enemies.
Praying for His enemies was one of the last things Jesus did as He was dying on the Cross. “Forgive them father, for they know not what they do,” So when we’re told we should pray for our enemies “so that you can be sons of your Father who is in heaven,” we’re being asked something very specific: to intercede on behalf of those who do us injury, those who mock us, those who threaten us, even those who want to kill us.
In THE BEST OF ENEMIES, there is a powerful exchange between Ann and C.P., during a confrontation. She thrusts her Bible in the air and says, “Same God made you made me.” She is declaring - and his reaction indicates he is receiving - the truth that these two enemies have common ground.
That’s what God wants us to develop for our enemies. Better regard, compassion, understanding. Appreciation, even. He wants us to love them. And prayer is where the seeds for that love are sown.