One of the greatest challenges is to pray for those we aren’t fond of and for our enemies.
If a friend requests prayer, we can seemingly bring down heaven with our words. We may even find it easier to pray for ourselves and even strangers. But when it comes to certain people? We tend to pray about them.
These “special” people may be enemies, but they can also include those who grate our spirits like fingernails on a chalkboard. Their very presence may cause us to roll our eyes and groan. Or worse still—they purposefully annoy us and attack our souls. They threaten our Christianity by provoking us to unChristlike behavior.
And yet we must pray for them?
Praying for someone is different than praying about them. When we pray about people, we tend to ask God for some superficial things with veiled kindness. We may ask God to let them be absent from our presence that day. We may ask God to stop them from annoying us or to curb their irritating behaviors. We may even pray for them to be transferred — preferably to a different continent — where they may find a new group of people who might appreciate them more.
The motive behind these prayers tends to be more selfish. In essence, we’re asking that they stop bugging us!
One way to revolutionize our prayer lives is to adjust our mindset about people. Rather than seeing them as a pestilence to us, we need to ask God to help us see them as His dearly beloved children.
Yes, God loves everyone, whether or not we love them. We can ask God to love them through us.
This does not mean that we’ll automatically start loving from the depths of our hearts. We will not become BFFs miraculously overnight or at any future time. But our prayers for them will have a fresh motivation and intention.
When we pray for people as God’s children, we will ask God to save them. We’ll ask God to flood them with His Holy Spirit so that they will experience that deep-rooted joy that comes only from God. We’ll ask God to bless their lives. We’ll ask God that they would accept His forgiveness and live with confident assurance as His forgiven children. We’ll ask that God would transform their passions into something beautiful that will attract others to Christ.
As a result of praying differently, we will see a different response to our prayers. Not only is God working in them, but He’s also working in us. We’ll become more tolerant towards others. We’ll develop a new depth of patience for certain traits. We’ll stop seeing people as an irritation and start seeing them as our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Have you stopped praying for someone and starting praying for them? How has your prayer life changed? We’d love to hear your experience.
Written by Sabrina Jacques-Rowe
Henderson Highway Church