I admit I’m feeling worn down and want a break. I don’t want any more challenges right now, so when this blog post came to my mind and spirit, I honestly wanted to block it out and not write it.
I really try to follow Jesus’s commands. I fall short every day, but I genuinely try to keep them in sight. I even do the one I think is the hardest — I pray for my enemies. But truthfully, it’s the shortest part of my prayer time. I often struggle with that prayer and quickly move on, thinking I’ve checked that difficult box for the day.
Can’t I Just Be Like David?
I love the picture of David’s humanity in the Psalms as he often pleads for God to crush his enemies. Oh, I believe we can all relate to David’s feelings. Truthfully, I’m more comfortable empathizing with him. But then Jesus tells me to feed and clothe my enemies, pray for them, and not rejoice when they fall. To me, that takes a heart that feels like a far cry from the one I have.
The uncomfortable thought that came to me today was to question what my life and my heart would look like if I completely switched the dynamic and made praying for my enemies the longest part of my prayer time. What if I became an active and passionate intercessor for my enemies? What would that look like?
I think first we can all admit that we already pay a significant amount of attention to our enemies. One glance at a social media feed and you’ll find that even with things that should unite us, we’ve found ways to magnify differences and create “enemies” out of people who, truthfully, we don’t even know. The division in our society has left us with no shortage of “enemies,” even among fellow Christians.
The Power of Intercessory Prayer
A friend recently introduced me to intercessory prayer in a way I hadn’t thought about before. She helped me recall people who had prayed for me at various points in my life, and that made me wonder where I would have been without their intercessory prayer. What if someday, the person we currently dislike the most could say the same about us?
My challenge today (and I hope you’ll join me) is to take the energy I typically devote to negative thoughts about my enemies and replace them with specific intercessory prayer. Not rote prayers that check a box but those that plead to the Father with a loving heart for mercy, keeping open and honest eyes on my own sin as well. I wonder what would happen in a week’s time if the people of God spent more time praying for their enemies than their other petitions?
God, create in us a heart that’s clean enough to do what only Your Spirit in us can do and let us boldly come to the throne of grace with the petition that not one — not even the one we dislike — should perish.