28 Days of Prayer
- Praying for enemies
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:44-45)
One of the best modern examples of praying for our enemies was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was not only a great civil rights leader, but also a strong Christ-follower, and in the face of racial injustice, he preached a message of “praying for one’s enemies.”
Instead of calling for violence against racist oppressors, Dr. King encouraged people to love their oppressors and to actually pray for them. The Civil Rights Movement wasn’t just a political movement, it was a prayer movement. As Dr. King and his followers were subjected to brutality, beatings, and constant oppression, he was always determined to love others, in spite of what others did to him.
Dr. King lived out the words of Jesus, and God used him to bring about historic change and progress during the Civil Rights movement.
Loving and praying for our enemies can be one of the hardest things we will ever do. Our natural tendency is to fight back, to return evil for evil against those we disagree with or dislike. But God’s ways are not our ways, and Jesus gives us a better way: praying for our enemies allows God’s redemptive work to not only change our hearts, but others’ hearts as well.
The way of the cross is the way of grace. We ought to seek to become peacemakers. Praying for our enemies allows us to let go of hate, and instead, walk in God’s love. It allows us to let go of bitterness, and experience His peace. We can’t do it in our own strength, but as it says in Philippians, we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!”
Is there an enemy or divisive person that has caused conflict in your life recently? Whoever that person is, God wants you to pray for them. He wants to soften your heart and allow His love to renew your mind and overcome hate.
Heavenly Father, help me to let go of my animosity, and instead allow your grace to consume me. You tell me that since you have forgiven me of my sins, I should forgive others as well. Since you have shown me grace, I need to extend that to others too. Lord, I ask for your help to forgive. I ask for your Spirit to help me not only pray for my enemies, but also to love them. I pray that I would let go of bitterness, and find freedom in your mercy and love. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Why is it hard to pray for our enemies or people who are not nice to us?
In your prayer journals write out a short prayer for your enemies. Whenever that person comes to mind silently pray the prayer that you wrote in the prayer journal.
Pray for your enemies and ask that God would change not only their heart but your heart, as well. Pray that God would give you a spirit of forgiveness towards your enemies.