“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 sons of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:43-45a).
“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28).
One of the most amazing commands of Christ is to love our enemies. In our flesh, we naturally want to retaliate or fight back when we are treated unkindly or persecuted. Jesus preached forgiveness and mercy: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36). His lifestyle demonstrated grace, that ours might also. He took His command one step further, adding another level of difficulty: “Pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44b). Jude also spoke about the importance of mercy: “Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them…” (Jude 1:22). Because of God’s mercy, we were saved. We must extend His mercy to those who are still enemies of God, so that they might also receive what we have been given.
Gracious God, it isn’t easy to love people who are unkind, but because Jesus demonstrated this ultimate love while hanging on the cross, I am compelled to do likewise. May I show His mercy and grace to those who persecute or mistreat me so they will see You in me.
–Taken from the article, Praying for Our Enemies by Kim Butts. (Click on the blue title to read the entire article).
Praise God that he wants you to have the full measure of his joy in you as he prayed to his Father in Jn. 17:13. Thank God for filling your heart with joy (Ps. 4:7). Confess any inability to feel “the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Neh. 8:10) due to some situation that may trouble you right now. Commit yourself to reading Paul’s letter to the Philippians to inspire you toward greater joy. Ask God to help you be joyful in every situation and to do everything without complaining or arguing (Phil. 2:14).
Pray that your family and friends may see your joy in the Lord in all situations and likewise be joyful.
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend (Click on the blue title for more information about this resource).