Praying for Your Enemies

In Matt 5:43-48, Jesus commands us to pray for our enemies.

Love for Enemies
Matt 5:43 (NIV Thinline Bible) “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 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. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

When you read daily Christian devotionals, they tend to encourage prayer for people who need or deserve prayer, like cancer patients, their doctors, disabled people, stressed out soccer moms or people facing bankruptcy.

Isn’t that like praying for “those who love you”? It is easy to pray for people we love, family, friends, people suffering, homeless or facing difficulty. It feels good to pray for those we love. It grows our hearts in a warm and fuzzy way.

Praying for people like this is surely commendable and we shouldn’t stop. Please don’t stop. If you haven’t started praying, this is a good place to start.

But if we want to take our prayer life to a new level, we should try to pray for our “enemies”. (There is no ‘try’. -Yoda)

It feels counter-intuitive to pray for your enemies. When I first started to pray for “enemies” I gravitated toward more sympathetic, disadvantaged or unjustly treated enemies.

Pray for telemarketers, bill collectors or that insane person who cut you off in traffic this morning. Don’t you think that they might need prayers? I’m sure that telemarketers and bill collectors would appreciate a prayer or two thrown their way. And that wacko driver, there must be a reason that God loves them and wants us to pray for them too.

How do you feel about praying for serious enemies who really need prayers, like suicide bombers or terrorists? Should we pray for them? Or would Jesus have us draw the line there? What do you think?

Do you pray for your enemies?  Who do you pray for?  What do you pray will happen to them or for them?  Post a comment and let me know what you think.  Thanks!

ESV Study Bible [Kindle Edition]
Vemma – Vitamins, Essential Minerals, Mangosteen & Aloe
My Utmost for His Highest – (DELUXE CHRISTIAN CLASSICS)
Praying Dangerously: Daring Prayers for Meaningful Faith
Adventures in Prayer (This is one of my favorite books on prayer!)