In Matthew 5:44, Jesus tells His disciples that they should “pray for those who persecute you.” This is timely instruction for our nation especially during these turbulent times, but, have you ever wondered what praying for your enemies does? After all they don’t see or hear the prayer so how can it affect them?
The wonderful thing about prayer is that you don’t have to witness it or even believe in it for it to affect you. This should be encouraging for us when we have to deal with an “enemy” and help us pray for them because:
1. You’re Not Defeated Just Because Your Foe is an Unbeliever.
Of course this assumes that your enemy is an unbeliever. In my experience I have found it easier to forgive and pray for those who don’t believe because I’m not expecting them to act like believers in the first place.
Those whose lives are not consciously led by the Lord shouldn’t be expected to act like Christians because they don’t believe. This is why I find it easier to offer them forgiveness. Most times they don’t know what they are doing, who they are doing it to and the consequences they face from an avenging God. I get why Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
The offense that really hurts is the one committed by a believer in Christ. Many times your worst enemy is in the church, singing alongside you or serving you the communion. It’s easy to pray for someone who is lost, doesn’t know, refuses spiritual things. You can feel sorry for this person and more easily forgive them because they are offending in ignorance. But how to forgive a brother who shares the faith and worships alongside you?
Even for this brother in this situation, prayer is the answer and the power required to heal because the One who answers prayer is the Lord of both you and your enemy, believer or non-believer.
2. The Prayer of a Righteous Person can Avail Much.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
– James 5:16
Only a believer can effectively offer a prayer to God. I am often saddened at the thought of how much energy is expended throughout the world every day and night by sincere people who are praying to entities, ancestors and beings that are not God and have no power to hear, let alone answer prayer.
This knowledge alone should spur us on to pray fervently not only for our enemies but also that God send out workers to proclaim the good news of the only true God, Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As far as our personal enemies are concerned, we need to pray for them because no one else may be praying for them.
3. All Things do Work for Good and God’s Purpose.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
– Romans 8:28
Even those who consciously work against God are ultimately in His service and our prayers put them there. The only difference is that they will serve unknowingly and will receive no reward for their effort.
There’s no reason to feel helpless when confronted with our various enemies in this life because God has clearly instructed us in what to do in order to defeat them. Love them so that their attack becomes unwarranted and worthy of judgment; pray for them so that God will work directly in their lives either to limit their attack or win them over to faith and fellowship. Either way prayer is the key to victory.
By Rick Shallenberger
A few weeks ago during a winter storm, there was an automobile accident on the freeway entrance ramp that I use almost every day. A local man lost control of his car on the ice and slid into the guardrail. He wasn’t hurt, so he decided to call his wife to tell her about the accident and let her know he was fine. Then, while he was inspecting the damage to his car, another driver slid on the same ice and hit him — killing him at the scene. I learned about the accident from my son, who works with the son of the man who was killed.
My prayer surprised me. Why did I think of this man after all these years? Why did I feel compelled to pray for him?
While driving past the accident site a few days later, I started praying for my son’s friend and his family. Then it struck me to pray for the other driver. How was he feeling, knowing he had killed someone? As I drove, I prayed that God would give the man comfort, encouragement and peace.
As I was thinking about the angst this man must be suffering, my mind went back to another accident. This one happened 39 years ago. A drunken driver ran a red light and broadsided our car. Two of my sisters, one 8 and the other 3, were killed. I wondered how that driver felt today. I can’t imagine how he has lived with the guilt and pain these past 39 years. But I’ve never even given a thought to him. So I did something I’ve never done before. I prayed for the man who killed my sisters. I asked God to relieve his pain and his guilt. I also asked God to give him peace and to heal him.
My prayer surprised me. Why did I think of this man after all these years? Why did I feel compelled to pray for him? Where were these thoughts coming from?
As I continued to drive and wonder, the sermon I had given the previous week came to mind. I was preaching from Luke 6 and had spent a few minutes on verses 27-28, which read, “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” I realized I had just forgiven the man who killed my sisters, and I had prayed for my “enemy.”
It was an unbelievably freeing moment. I had actually asked God to bless the man who had caused my family and me so much pain. What enabled me to do that? That’s when it really hit me. I was able to pray for him because for the first time, I saw this man through Christ’s eyes.
Jesus does not look at him as the man who drank too much and caused a deadly accident. Jesus sees a brother, a precious child of God, whose mistake had horrific consequences. This one mistake took two innocent lives and forever changed two families — his and mine. But the mistake did not stop or change this man from being who he is and always will be — God’s beloved child. God never stopped loving him or wanting to have a personal relationship with him.
I don’t know where this man is today. I have no idea whether he is a believer. All I know is that God inspired me to pray for him and I did. That prayer changed me.
Praying for our enemies frees us from a lot of emotional baggage and enables us to see others as God sees them. Further, it helps us place others in God’s hands and trust him to do his work in them just as he does his work in us. Our “enemies” are God’s children.
My prayer for the man who killed my sisters inspired me. I believe God was reminding me that in Christ, all my friends and all my “enemies” are forgiven, loved and included. Christ provides the restoration: I know that by his love and power I’ll see my sisters again. And he provides the healing and reconciliation: theirs, mine and that of the man who hit us. Jesus is truly our “all in all,” the beginning and the end, the full measure of our lives.
Rick Shallenberger is Pastor of Christ Fellowship Church, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Young Dolph drops another single, “I Pray For My Enemies.”
Young Dolph teases us again with the new single “Pray For My Enemies.” Three weeks ago, Dolph turned heads with “That’s How I Feel,” featuring Gucci Mane. keeps his Gelato campaign moving by releasing the Iconick-directed visual for the project’s title track, which was produced by Izze The Producer. Perpetuating his current beef with fellow Memphis native Yo Gotti, the clip finds the “Get Paid” rapper posted in his nemesis neighborhood with some choice eye candy
Young Dolph came out swinging yesterday, dissing Yo Gotti on his “Play With Yo B*tch” record, putting a division across the city of Memphis. Less than 24 hours later, Dolph is picking up on the momentum with an entire mixtape titled Gelato. He doesn’t feature many on it besides Migos and Wiz Khalifa, so it’s 11 tracks full of his music with him practically on the dolo.
I’m drinking lean and she drinking Hennessy
Gucci bitch with porn star tendencies
I put her on a plane to come and visit me
Got time for her to go back she didn’t wanna leave
— Young Dolph
Stream & Download Young Dolph-I Pray For My Enemies Below!!!
DOWNLOAD Young Dolph – I Pray For My Enemies
Young Dolph – Bulletproof Album (Zip Download)