Monday, July 26, 2010

Praying for our Enemies

In his sermon yesterday, my pastor reminded us that Jesus spent his last breath not blessing his followers, but praying for those who had murdered him. I hadn't really thought about that fact, and I found it somewhat sobering.

It's easy to pray for the people we love. It's perhaps even easy to pray for those who are behaving badly towards others, others who aren't people we love. It's much harder to pray for those who are actively out to get us or those who have harmed us.

Those of us with experience know that praying for our enemies is as important for what it does for the one doing the prayer as for the one doing the harm. Praying for our enemies keeps our hearts soft. It keeps the pathway to reconciliation open.

One of Paul's phrases that I love the most is "ministry of reconciliation." I feel like I always stumble across it when I'm musing about my life's mission.

One of the most basic ways towards that ministry of reconciliation is to pray for our enemies.


Mrs. M said...

I am wrestling with this lately, especially with understanding where to "shake the dust from our sandals" and where to love our enemies-- or whether it's ok to do both at the same time. Certainly praying for our enemies is part of both options. I do find that prayer changes me more than it changes the situation.

Kristin said...

Some of our most heated Sunday School discussions have come over the idea of forgiveness--can we say we've forgiven if we can't forget and let go? I won't sketch out all the arguments here--but I wanted to let you know that you're not alone in your struggle!