By Rikki Beth Poindexter
The Bible commands us to pray for our enemies. It is not a suggestion. Matthew 5:44 says, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”
This is a life-changing principle; not necessarily an easy one but life-changing for sure! We are not going to go through life without having enemies, but we can be right with the Lord by praying for them. It is impossible to strongly dislike those you are really praying for. Praying for our enemies will mature us.
I have learned that praying for my enemies benefits me and softens my heart. It is like forgiveness. Forgiving someone is more for me than them. Praying for my enemies keeps me right with the Lord, which is where I want to stay.
Have a section in your prayer book for your enemies. Hopefully, it is not a large section, but one that is needed nonetheless. I personally pray for my enemy’s heart, that it would be soft; for their spiritual condition (God knows); for peace; for their hurt (hurting people hurt people); for their needs to be met; for God’s will in their lives. If they have children, I pray for them to be saved and that they will serve the Lord all the days of their lives. I pray for their children’s protection and for God’s guidance in their lives.
If your enemies are people you knew well, that means you probably are aware of burdens they carried and loved ones they were concerned over. Continue to pray over those requests. I want as much prayer help as I can get concerning my lost loved ones!
I prayed for one of my enemies for years. I was unsure of how I would feel when I saw them for the first time after becoming my enemy. God allowed me to see them and my heart was broken and soft toward them. There was no animosity, no bitterness, not even any tension. Praise the Lord for His Word and His ways! I am so thankful that God knows best! His ways are right. If I had not prayed for my enemy, unforgiveness may have continued to harbor and consume me like the cancer it is. My fellowship with the Lord would have been hindered because of disobedience. Remember, praying for our enemies is a command.
Proverbs 24:17 says, “Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:”