By: Pastor Jarren Rogers
“Scripture insists that God has hard-wired the universe in such a way that He works primarily through prayer” – David Jeremiah
What are you praying for right now? Who are you praying for? If you showed me your prayer list, I could tell you what really matters to you. Many times, our prayer time is filled with lifting up to God what is closest to our hearts. Our biggest blessings, our hardest situations, our closest relationships.
But sometimes I wonder if we haven’t left a page or two off of our prayer journals. Are we forgetting something or someone that Jesus specifically asked us to pray for?
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 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” (Matthew 5:43-44).
Do we really pray for those who persecute us?
I think that we may forgive them. We may avoid them. We may try really hard to be nice to them, but sometimes I think we fail to truly love those that hurt us. I believe the reason Jesus calls us to pray for those who persecute us is because it is the only way that we can develop a Christlike love for them.
It would be impossible for you to wake up tomorrow morning and simply decide that, today, you are going to start to love that coworker who gets on your nerves. In order to love those in our lives that seem to be the hardest to love, we need Christ to work in our hearts through prayer.
Have you ever prayed for someone for a long time? Maybe it was a friend who was going through a difficult time or a family member who was diagnosed with an illness. Do you remember the bond the was formed in prayer? When we pray for others daily, there is a supernatural connection that develops. Our love for them grows and our care for them greatens. You may not have seen someone in a long time, but simply because you’ve been praying for them, it feels as if you hadn’t even left them.
The same can be said when we pray for our enemies. When we bring those, who hurt us before God, He begins to change our hearts. We develop an impossible love for those that have persecuted us. When we see them, we are no longer filled with anger or annoyance, instead, we are filled with love.
Try it. Pray for that person who has hurt you. Pray for that person who rubs you the wrong way. Watch as God changes your heart and fills you with His love.
Then, walk up to that person who has wounded you and tell them that you’ve been praying for them. See how they react. My guess is that God has been working on them too!
Parents: Whenever your children have a conflict with another child, encourage them to pray for those that hurt them. Explain to them why Christ called us to do it.