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Praying for your enemies

 

To mature in God’s love, Christians need to love our enemies and pray for those who have wronged us.

Jesus gave us principles that tell us how we can pray effectively. It is interesting to note that the first recorded statement He made in the Gospels concerning prayer was about praying for our enemies.

“You have heard that it has been said, You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44).

It takes divine love to love your enemies. You will not truly be able to love them unless you are born again and the nature in your heart is changed. Jesus went on to say in verse 48, “Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

Jesus knows none of us can be perfect as God is perfect. But He wants us to grow and mature in the God-kind of love. If we have a mature prayer life, we will pray for our enemies and not criticize or talk about them.

We are to pray for those who despitefully use and persecute us. And you might say, “But you just don’t understand what people have done to me.” When Jesus was hanging on the cross, bleeding, hurting, and dying, He didn’t rail against His enemies and accuse them. He prayed for them and asked God to forgive them (Luke 23:34).

The same love that was in Jesus has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. When we demonstrate the God-kind of love and self-sacrificing attitude that prays for others, we will grow and mature in power. Praying for those who have wronged us also enables us to release hurts, grudges, and unforgiveness we have in our hearts against them.

Jesus gave us the instructions in how we should treat our enemies; we are to love them, bless them, do good to them, and pray for them. If we will do these things, the love of God will be perfected in our lives. We will reflect the same kind of love that God is.

 
 
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