Why It is Good to Pray FOR Your Enemies

Praying WomanMatthew 5: 43-48

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

As we live on this planet it is impossible to not have those who dislike us or even can’t stand us. Having enemies or even those who have hatred for us is a part of living in this world. Where I agree it is hard to have those who are against us, it’s also a challenge to grow in heart, in life, and in spirit.

One of my favorite sayings is “Those who pray for their enemies have no enemies.” Jesus made His statement clear that it is easy to love our friends and those who love us, but where is the reward in that? Our true reward is in becoming more like our Lord and that means praying for, and loving, our enemies. I agree, it’s hard. This does not mean we have to agree with them. It does not mean we have to hang around them, because often their hearts have not changed, nor will they ever. What praying for, and loving our enemies does, is it puts us in a place of love that lays itself down for others. Jesus also taught us that there is no greater love than to lay down ones life. Of course, He put this in the context of being “friends”.

Praying for our enemies helps to change OUR hearts for the better. Loving those who do not love us back is the greatest love we could possibly have and also the greatest way to keep hatred from entering into our hearts. Can you agree that maybe we have enough hatred in this life? Granted our enemies might have too much pride to even draw near us or befriend us, but our goal is not impressing others. Our goal is becoming closer to being like our Lord and Savior. We want to be formed and fashioned into the image of our heavenly Father who sees us all as His creation. We might not all be His chosen, but we are all His creation.

To have hatred is to kill or murder from the heart. Think about that statement for a second. All open actions begin with our thoughts and what is in our hearts. If this is true then we are capable of doing things we might have never done had we not harbored hatred inside of us. Praying for our enemies changes this. Now, hear me in this; this does not mean our prayer is “God do something horrible to that person”. It means, “God please bless this person, keep them safe, help them to love more, come into their lives, be their Savior, reveal Yourself to them, change them from the inside out, and make them more like YOU!”

A dear man I was honored to be connected with, a father in the faith, prayed over peoples photos and had many that he posted in front of him while he prayed. I loved this practice and I came to adopt the very same thing. This helps us to see and visualize the person as a human being and in the presence of the Holy Spirit, we can genuinely come to love them as we pray for them to be blessed. In this way we are more like our heavenly Lord and also we spiritually create ways to build bridges instead of burn them.

Don’t we need more bridge builders in this life? What victory do we have in keeping our enemies wrapped in the heart of hatred? We only have victory when we allow love to win out. The Bible tells us that true love always wins. When we pray for our enemies and love our enemies we always win and so do they. They might not know it, or even recognize it, but they will win. Praying for those who hate us turns hate to love and shows we have grown into a greater maturity. Our prayers might not win humanitarian of the year award in someone else’s eyes, but God sees them as sacred.

If you want to do good in this world, start in your prayer closet and post Scriptures, pictures, prayers, and loving statements. How can you help but shine in the presence of your heavenly Father when you show Him your love and maturity?

Loving you from here,

Pastor Jenine Marie Howry

Jenine Marie Coaching and Ministries 

When We Love Others It Should Open Their Hearts Not Close Them

IMG_20170904_140736_219Not long ago I had a deep prayerful conversation with someone who has deeply touched my life. I think this person by far has been the strongest and yet most humbled I have known. We talked about who deserves Christ, the love of God, and how the Body of Christ is supposed to be “as one” just as Jesus is one with our Holy Father. There is no doubt we have a dysfunctional family but we are family none the less. Yet Jesus prayed we be one.

The oneness Jesus spoke of is not just one church body within an organization but through the whole Body of Christ. Yes, we fall short of that for sure. If we are ever supposed to achieve what Jesus asked for then we have to let down our guard, open our hearts, and allow bridges to be rebuilt where they have been torn down. We will never do this if we treat one another as an inconvenience.

Bottom line, lack of forgiveness is at the root of our demise. So many are unwilling to forgive or to allow their inner hurts to be revealed. Unfortunately, the only way to be completely be set free from inner hurts is to expose them, let God heal them through Christ, and choose to love even when it is hardest. Healing begins this way, and oneness begins this way as well.

I understand it is hard to look at the truth when we think it might be an imposition upon our lives. Maybe it will expose something we don’t want others to know about. Unfortunately God knows it all anyway and eventually it will all be exposed in the light of Christ. We might as well expose it now and get it over with. Sometimes we think of our own self instead of the other side of someone else’s issues. How many people could we heal if we would just allow them into our hearts enough to converse with them, get to know them, and understand them, like Jesus did?

It grieves my heart that we are so burned in our souls that we burn others when they try to touch us. Sometimes we even burn ourselves. Can we ever reach the point of maturity where we can let down our guard enough to give others the benefit of the doubt that they might be great people? Maybe they made mistakes. Maybe we ourselves made some too. We all have sinned and have fallen short of God’s glory. Are we too self centered that we deny Jesus His one prayer to the Holy Father before His crucifixion? He said, “…that all of them be one, Father, just as You are in Me, and I am in You…” John 17:21.

The Lord instructed us all to pray for our enemies. Although, often who we consider to be our enemies are not enemies at all. Praying for someone is the most loving and excellent thing to do. This does not mean, “Get them Father”, but “bless them Lord”. In all honestly, we break one another’s hearts. That is a given. We do this because of our own wounds. Our wounds push away instead of cover like Christ. This should not be, yet it is a reality within our Christian faith and the Lord’s Body.

Thankfully, the Lord always knows the intention of our hearts and when they are good, he acknowledges the goodness within us. So, keep on praying for those who oppose you, who have hurt you deeply, who have lied to you, and who have cast you off. Your heavenly Father knows your heart, has felt your pain, and will heal you because of your obedience. He loves when we build bridges instead burn them. This does not mean we take disrespect. We can pray at a distance. But it does mean that God can work miracles through our prayers with good intentions. He loves us with an everlasting love. That means all of us! He never treats us as an inconvenience, never lies to us, never blocks us when we reach out, and never stops loving even when we fail Him.

None of us deserves His love and yet He gives it lavishly. We should be grateful for what we have in Him and for what we have in one another. Maybe some day we all will. Until that day, we keep on praying without ceasing, because it still remains the most loving thing any person can do for another.

In love and healing

Pastor Jenine Marie Howry

Jenine Marie Coaching and Ministries

800-421-1765