How do we pray appropriately and powerfully in the midst of the circumstances in which we currently find ourselves as a nation? First, let’s make some careful distinctions. The ultimate antagonist is not a person – he is Satan. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12). His heart can not be changed by prayer, because his outcome has already been determined. (Revelation 20:7-10)
There are people whose hearts are evil, and who have set themselves up as our enemies. In doing so, they do the work of Satan, and they must be opposed. “And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one” (2 Thess. 3:2-3). They are determined to do harm; however, their hearts can still be changed. Even the most evil person is not outside of the loving reach of Almighty God when we pray. So, how do we reconcile these seemingly opposing forces? We pray that God will soften and change the hearts of those who desire to do evil. We also pray that they will come face to face with the Living God, and that He will bring good out of everything meant for evil. The acts of evil must be stopped – and sometimes that means that evil men, as well as godly ones, will be casualties of war. But the power of Christ can reach into any circumstance – even the most desperate ones and bring glory to Himself!
Ruler of Heaven and Earth, You have shown me clearly that the most loving thing I can do for my enemies is to pray for them! Give me the desire to overcome my feelings towards those who do harm and allow me to intercede on their behalf. Soften the hearts of those who do evil and draw them to Yourself in ways that bring You honor and glory!
–Adapted from the article Unleashing the Power of Prayer by Kim Butts, author of The Praying Family: Creative Ways to Pray Together.
Praise God, who is majestic in holiness (Ex. 15:11). Give thanks for the privilege of sharing in his holiness (Heb. 12:10). Confess any impure thoughts or actions that remained unconfessed. Commit yourself anew to living the holy life that God has called you to live (1 Thess. 4:7). Ask God to impress upon you the vision of Isaiah: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isa. 6:3).
Pray that your loved ones will be drawn closer to God as they see your example of holy living.
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