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 

Dealing With the “Lack of Maturity” Type Person

11988378_10153670839814255_4027848974804248960_nPsychologists tell us about the type A, type B person or personality. I tend to agree that there are people who are either on one side of the spectrum or the other. We don’t always hear about what I call “the lack of maturity” type person. This is putting aside that all of us have those moments of acting out and not being as “grown up” as we should.

Yet, there are those who tend to exude that lack of mature reasoning and almost seem stuck in a childhood type of mentality. I remember when my kids were growing up, there was the bully on the playground who always had to somehow “kick someone’s behind”,  ah hem, putting it in a more mild form. Even as I was growing up I could never understand that mentality. More surprising there are adults who never got past that mentality and draw that type of drama into others lives like a boat anchor that sinks just about everyone around them.

Lately, and actually over the last several years, my life has been affected by that type of person. Not by choice, but I guess you could say, by proxy. It does not feel good. I like to drive my life ahead, leaving that which is behind to be my past, just like the Bible and God says to do. Sometimes its inevitable though. That type of person gets dragged into our lives and we find ourselves fighting tooth and nail to avoid the “reap what you sow” blast that comes from them just because they are energetically and spiritually connected.

Over the last few weeks my experience came to a head though. I could NOT take any more. The “lack of maturity” person had to be removed or I had to remove myself. Sometimes it is a matter of principle and sometimes it is a matter of brokenness. I found myself broken because I did not take action sooner. The last thing I have ever needed was a shattered life again. So I had to take matters into my own hands and request that person to exit, stage left. I’ve never been a hateful person but I found myself having those feelings and it sure did not feel good. You know, God hates. He hates sin. He hates divorce. He hates adultery, and He hates rebellion and pride. So I know to occasionally have those feelings is normal, but not to act on them because vengeance belongs to the Lord, not to me.

I have grown to learn to guard my gate as to whom I allow in to my life and who I do not. I have my own set of values and it is perfectly fine to enforce them because the quality of my life is important. We are only given one to live and I want mine to be the best it can ever be. This is the bottom line here. Some people just don’t care if they hurt or harm us. They don’t care if they keep us waiting, or if they take what is not theirs to take. They don’t care if they break someone’s heart or even if they stomp on it after it is broken. That is the reality of this world.

There is another reality though. God gave us family and I know I have a lot of God given family! I was reminded by someone dear to me that I am one million strong with people who are behind me 110%! Wow, that truth takes care of so much of the hurt caused by the lack of maturity type people!

I want to encourage you today and stand your ground and not allow yourself to be affected by those who refuse to grow up. Leave them outside your gate and don’t allow their influence to infiltrate your life. You deserve the best and you certainly don’t deserve to live with a broken heart due to the mindless actions of others. Keep in mind to work toward forgiveness. This does not mean allow them back in! This means forgive so you can be forgiven by God and also so that your heart can be free! Then don’t, I repeat, don’t allow them back in again! People don’t just change and even when they do it takes a long time.

Keeping the lack of maturity people outside the sheep’s gate. It will give you peace; the kind that God wants you to have.

Pastor Jenine Marie Howry

Jenine Marie Coaching and Ministries