Scripture states that our chief enemy 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” (Ephesians 6:12). Therefore, we should recognize that behind our flesh and blood enemies ultimately Satan is at work.
The Apostle Paul probably understood this concept more fully than any of the disciples or other believers. At one time, he persecuted the followers of Jesus, even casting his vote to have many put to death while he watched in approval. A case could certainly be made that Paul considered all believers to be his enemies and vice versa. But when God got Paul’s attention on the road to Damascus, which ultimately led to his salvation through Jesus, he grasped for the first time, the mercy of the Lord. He understood that the followers of Jesus were not his enemies, as God gave him tremendous insight about his real enemy – Satan.
Paul went from being an enemy of God to a child of God through a personal encounter with Jesus. He described the difference, from personal experience, to the Philippian church: “For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:18-20a).
It is also important to remember that, like Paul, each of us was at one time an enemy of God: “Since we now have been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled shall we be saved through His life? Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” (Romans 5:9-11). Because we have experienced the mercy of God, should we not also extend it to others?
Adapted from the article Loving People into God’s Kingdom through Prayer by Kim Butts, author of The Praying Family: Creative Ways to Pray Together
Merciful God, my life is whole and new since I began a relationship with Jesus, even when there are disappointments and struggles. There are so many who believe You to be their enemy, when Satan is the one who is making their lives miserable and dysfunctional. Please use me to bring Your light and mercy into the lives of those around me who are in the midst of difficult circumstances.
Praise the Lord as the one who owns the earth and everything in it (Ps. 24:1). Thank him for making it part of the inheritance of the meek (Mt. 5:5). Confess aspects of your life where you do not have the meekness of submission to Christ’s Lordship. Commit yourself to being filled and controlled by Christ. Ask him to properly bring the areas you influence under his influence.
Pray for any in your circle who are “out of control” or merely under the control of themselves. Ask God to reign in your home.
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend