Praying for Our Enemies

For the first time in my life I have an enemy. To tell you the truth, I feel excited by it.11711029153_9d49a7e46e_o

Certainly I’ve encountered people throughout my life that I didn’t like or who didn’t like me, with varying degrees of strength. In these cases we tended to ignore each other, moving farther apart and giving the other little attention, if any. These are not really enemies, even though I thought they were on occasion.

This time it’s different. This person has gone from being mean, to trying to be a bully, to inflicting unjust harm — intentionally, purposefully, repeatedly.

After feeling hurt and angry, I came to a place where I realized she was sick and wounded. No balanced, healthy person seeks the destruction of another when there is no reason. Even if there was, I believe attempts to harm others originates from a deeply wounded part of the person.

Scripture says we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. (Matthew 5:43-48) After forgiving her, at least within myself and before God, I felt challenged to obey the words of Jesus and pray for her. I went in search of help, via Google, of course.

The first prayer is from Anselm of Canterbury and it seems to me to be pitch perfect:

You who are the light, lighten their darkness; you who are the whole truth, correct their errors; you who are the true life, give life to their souls….

Anselm’s prayer goes on to include a willingness to be corrected and grow which I think is important. It does no good to point at the enemy unless we’re willing to look at our own attitudes and behaviors.

The other prayer is from John Piper at Desiring God who suggests we pray for our enemies as for ourselves, and then crafts a petition based on the Lord’s Prayer.

Read them for yourself and, better yet, pray them for your enemies.

Peace to you and for all of your relationships!

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