"But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:44-45
Enemy--the very word conjures up feelings of anger and hatred. Surely Christ must be joking. The only prayers we'd want to offer for our enemies have to do with retribution and revenge.
Yet Jesus prayed for His enemies. He laments their rejection of God (Matthew 23:37-39) and forgives them from the cross (Luke 23:34). It would have been easy to bring punishment down on those who failed Him. Yet even Judas is loved and called "friend" at the very moment he would betray Jesus (Matthew 26:50).
What good things would follow were you to pray for your enemies? What if you were to pray that your enemies might know the Lord better and become more loving like Him? What if you asked the Lord to help you understand what your enemies are gong through? As you bring them before the Lord in prayer, you might find His power working in your heart, softening your feelings toward them.
Are there people right now whom you would call enemies? Talk about them with the Lord in prayer. Call for the power and forgiveness of the Lord to transform their lives. You might end up with a Christian friend instead of an enemy.
PRAYER: Lord, bless my enemies that they may be Your friends and mine; in Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
(Devotions from "The Abundant Life" copyright 1998, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time e-mailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)