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Pray For Your Enemies

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

One morning while in prayer, the Holy Spirit impressed upon me to begin to pray for my enemies. Without going into too much detail, these were people who, at the mere thought of them, I’d become vexed, and my face would contort in pure disgust and annoyance.

(I’m pointing out these vivid expressions so that you can clearly understand why being asked to pray for said enemies was painful at best and torturous at worst.)

We’ve been conditioned to hate our enemies. This mindset was common even in Jesus’ time. Matthew 5:43 confirms this attitude, where Jesus Himself said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’

However, the ways of the Kingdom of God go against what culture says. Jesus went on to say in Matthew 5:44, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, (emphasis added) with the promise “that you may be children of your Father in Heaven” (verse 45)

While praying for my enemies, I remembered the many times the Father had forgiven my transgressions. I moved from praying out of obligation to praying from the point of compassion and mercy and eventually transitioned into the space of forgiveness.

The Bible tells us to forgive and to show mercy.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy (Matthew 5:7)

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you (Matthew 6:14)

I encourage you to study the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant from Matthew 18:21-35, particularly verse 35: “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

At that point, I got the revelation that praying for your enemies is a weapon. Forgiveness is a weapon. Mercy is a weapon. These are not weapons of the world, yet they have divine power to demolish strongholds. (2 Corinthians 10:4 NIV)

Such seemingly simple actions- even though, if we’re being real, praying for your enemies is anything but simple- can destroy strongholds of anger, hate, and bondage.

If there are people who make your face scrunch up in disgust when you think about them or who evoke a strong reaction in you, I challenge you today to dedicate the remainder of July to praying for them. And if you have many enemies, commit to praying for one at a time for 30 days.

I pray the Holy Spirit will convict you to remember the mercy the Father has shown you and help you compassionately release your enemies into the Lord’s Hands.

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