One of the most ignored commands of Jesus is this:
“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (Matthew 5:44)
Notice there isn’t an “enemies” section in our prayer list. I say that with my tongue firmly in my cheek, after all I realize that it would also not be good to actually label certain people or groups as our enemies!
But I think the point is still valid. We struggle enough with remembering to pray for our own kids, the people we love and care for the most, much less people we might term our enemies. I’m sure I could count the number of times I’ve done that in my life on one hand.
Maybe it starts with the thought that I try not to collect enemies to begin with, or at least I tend to pull away from those that call me an enemy.
Certainly God knows this is true of us, so why did Jesus give this command? Maybe reading further will help with an answer.
“For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” (Matthew 5:46)
The bottom line is that it is really difficult to consistently pray for someone and not develop a love for them. And we are called to love as God loves, not as the world loves. We are all born enemies of God, yet God sent His Son because of His love for us.
We are called to love differently, to love above the natural, self-serving way of those far from God. Praying for those in our society that we consider to be an enemy of all things good, will possibly not change them, but it will certainly change us. God knows the best way to defeat an enemy is to make them your friend. God restored our relationship with Himself through grace and mercy.
When we pray for the pro-abortion crowd, or the leaders in our country that would seek to remove God from our society completely, we offer grace and mercy, and our love becomes supernatural.
Your friend in the Gospel,