Pray for those who hurt you. Luke 5:28
Recently I had an aha moment! It happened while I was going through my prayer list of people for whom I pray regularly. The list, which has grown to over a hundred people, includes family members, relatives, friends and those who serve in the ministry and as missionaries. Since they are people I consider as given to me by God, just as Jesus viewed those the Father had given Him, I have been using His John 17 prayer as a model for similar ways to pray for them. (See Pray Like Jesus for Family and Friends)
As I was praying I heard the Holy Spirit whisper to me “Do you know what people in your life are missing from this list?” Pause . . . . “Your enemies.” I thought to myself, “But why would I want to pray for them, they’ve hurt me?” But no sooner had that thought formed as a bubble poised above my head than a pin prick of truth from the Bible popped it. The words of Jesus came darting into the picture “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.” (Luke 5:27-28) Ouch!
Instantly, every ounce of resistance within me drained away. It made perfect sense. Why of course, it is one of Jesus’ basic commands regarding prayer. He not only preached it, He practiced it himself in the face of severe mistreatment and abuse. “Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) And so in obedience of faith, I added to my prayer list a new category coded “ME” which is the abbreviation for “my enemies.”
The one salient thing I am learning is that praying for those who have hurt me is praying as much, if not more, for “ME” as for them. Praying prayers of blessing over the “enemy” begins to change and soften our attitude toward them. It forces us to come to terms with our hardened heart and resentments through repeatedly having to pronounce forgiveness and blessing toward them. And so as always with prayer, God’s grace is extended to both the one praying and the one being prayed for. I thank God for that. It has added a dimension to my prayer life that in the past was too readily overlooked.
What have you learned through praying for those who have hurt you?
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