"Pray for those who are trying to kill you." Blessing, loving, and praying for our enemies is perhaps one of the most difficult mandates Jesus offers us as His disciples. But how can you pray for someone who is out to do you harm? We can't do it within ourselves. All things are possible through the power of God's Spirit working through us. We can pray for our enemies through Jesus. Here's an example of how you could pray:
What Does the Bible Say about 'Pray for Those Who Persecute You'
Even pious individuals prayed in the Old Testament for God to punish their adversaries cruelly. Their prayers were not blessed prayers. The book of Proverbs and other biblical scriptures teach us how to treat our enemies well. But Jesus' order to bless, love, and pray for our enemies turned life upside down. While Jesus did not define who our adversaries were in the Beatitudes, he did describe them as people who mocked, persecuted, lied about, or used us despitefully.And so if we had those experiences, we were fortunate.
Those who were not for Him, he added, were against Him. Jesus demonstrated a new way of life based on love rather than hatred. He urged us to recognize Satan as the ultimate source of all wrongdoings and to learn how to combat him. When it comes to our earthly enemies, though, we may trust the Holy Spirit to pray for us when we don't know how or what to pray for them.
A Prayer for Your Enemies
We pray for our adversaries today, Lord Jesus, following Your example and mandate. We first beg that You fill our life with the strength and force of the Holy Spirit. Allow Your love to flow through us, and forgive us for clinging to anything that might obstruct our prayers. We let go of any resentment, vengeance thoughts, or angry sentiments that can suffocate Your Spirit in our hearts. Then grant us insight as we try to figure out how to bless, love, and pray for our foes.
We pray that you bless our adversaries and orchestrate events in their lives that reveal their hearts to you. We pray that, as You described blessing in the Beatitudes, You would grant them a spirit of poverty that recognizes their desperate need for You. We pray that they would find consolation in You during their grief, and that they will be humbled before You—in Your manner and in Your time. We pray that You offer them mercy before it's too late—knowing that before You showed kindness to us, we were all God's enemies—and that they, in turn, exhibit mercy to others.
Lord, we pray that instead of longing for pure evil, they hunger and thirst for Your purity and righteousness, that they become advocates for Your justice, and that their fighting souls are transformed into peacemakers. Remove the mask of happiness, deconstruct the illusions that have deluded them, and hedge their paths until there is no way out except up. We ask that You will show them the futility of their actions, for in fighting God's kingdom and in their darkness, they are often unaware of the underlying causes for their actions and the repercussions that occur. Make any profound pains or traumas in their own lives known to them, since these may be contributing to their destructive behavior.
We pray for our enemies in the same way that you use suffering and difficulties to bring blessing into our lives. Use whatever measures necessary to soften hard hearts, open blind eyes, and assist them in realizing their ultimate need for You. Allow persecution in their own lives if necessary so that they can taste Your blessing. If necessary, communicate with them in amazing, supernatural ways, such as through a dream, a movie, another believer, Your Word, or even our own life if we are ever confronted. Allow them to see Your power and identify You as the source in some way.
We pray for conviction, an honest assessment of their own fate, and a sense of desperation if that is what it takes for them to investigate Your claims and learn Who You are. Pursue them, even if it means letting goodness lead to repentance. And, Lord, grant us patience and a profound trust in You, even when we see no change in our adversaries. Help us to recall Your grace in our own lives, and what we would be without You, when we hesitate to pray for our enemies.
Why Should We 'Pray for Those Who Persecute You'
Why should we pray for those who oppose us? Because it was done by Jesus. He prayed for those who opposed Him, for those who plotted evil against Him, and finally, as He hung on the Cross, He pleaded for His Father to pardon all those who had a part in His death—because they didn't realize what they were doing. Jesus demonstrated unconditional love and taught us how to pray for our adversaries before commanding us to do the same.
Prayer is a wonderful practice and honor. When we pray for someone, our prayers frequently come back to us like a boomerang. God may or may not respond in the way we prayed, but He frequently chooses to bless and alter us as a result of our prayerful obedience. It's difficult to remain enraged at someone for whom you sincerely pray. In addition, prayer entrusts all repercussions, retribution, and perfect justice to God. It's a surrender of our will to God's control. God's Spirit can supernaturally express love and kindness to our enemies through us or another, which may eventually change them, if we pray for them.
Because perfect love casts out fear, this technique can also help us overcome our fear of our enemies. Jesus warned us not to be scared of people who could physically harm us. Instead, we are to reverently fear the One Who determines and accomplishes the destiny of our souls.
7 Bible Verses that Give Us Perspective about Praying for Our Enemies:
When a man's actions are pleasant to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him, according to Proverbs 16:7 NASB.
Matthew 5:44 KJV, Matthew 5:44 KJV, Matthew 5:44 KJV But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who despise you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you.
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing,” Jesus stated in Luke 23:34 NIV.
“And when you stand praying, if you have anything against anybody, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins,” says Mark 11:25 NIV.
12:20-21 (Rom. 12:20-21) MSG, If you see your enemy hungry, buy him lunch, and if he's thirsty, get him a drink, according to the Bible. His goodness will be surprised by your giving. Don't allow evil get the best of you; instead, make good the best of evil.
TLB, 1 Peter 3:9 Don't retaliate against someone who has done you wrong. Don't lash out at those who say hurtful things about you. Rather, pray for God's assistance for them, because we are to be kind to others, and God will reward us for it.
NLT, Proverbs 20:22 "I'm going to get even for this wrong," don't say. Allow the Lord to take care of the situation.
Every person was important to Jesus. Even while we were still His "enemy," He came to demonstrate us the Father's entire love. He didn't leave us without a model when He urged us to be His followers. He asked us to pray for our adversaries, knowing that we would be mistreated and even tormented for belonging to and believing in Him. God's power is released in them—and in us—when we do so.
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