Praying for our Enemies (13 February 2019)

Morning Encounter:

Read:

You have heard people say, “Love your neighbours and hate your enemies.” But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong.

(Matthew 5: 43-48)

Reflect:

Some of Jesus’ teaching is shocking and counter-intuitive. But he is “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15) and so we can trust what he says is wise, true, and good. Here he instructs his followers to pray for those who mistreat them. Later he will practice what he preaches in the most incredible way and pray for those who are nailing him onto the cross.

Praying for our enemies often has the effect of changing our heart towards them and the situation. It strips bitterness and resentment of their power over us. And it brings God into a relationship only he can change.

 Respond:

It is far more natural to pray as the Psalmist did, “show how much you love me by destroying my enemies.” (Psalm 143:12) Ask God to give you strength to pray blessing on those who have hurt you.

Midday Meditation:

“I must, through appropriate courses of action, become inwardly transformed by grace to become the kind of person—in my inmost thoughts, feelings, attitudes and directions of will—who will routinely do the kinds of things he said to do. I will then not be governed by anger, contempt or lust. And I will be able to bless those who curse me, love my enemies, and so forth, because I am one in whom the character and power of Christ has come to dwell through the processes of discipleship to Christ.”

(Dallas Willard, Radix Magazine 34:3)

Evening Reflection:

“Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them

Enemies have driven me into Thy embrace more than friends have.

Friends have bound me to earth, enemies have loosed me from earth and have demolished all my aspirations in the world.

Just as a hunted animal finds safer shelter than an unhunted animal does, so have I, persecuted by enemies, found the safest sanctuary, having ensconsed myself beneath Thy tabernacle, where neither friends nor enemies can slay my soul.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.”

(From a Prayer of St Nikolai of Ochrid)

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