“Because I said so!”
Did you ever hear this phrase as a kid? I did. If I asked my mom why I had to do something or why couldn’t I do something, she would often say, “Because I said so!” That used to drive me crazy, and I vowed never to say that to my kids when I grew up.
However, I now understand exactly why she used those words, and I have said them to my kids. My mom knew what was best for me and wanted to protect me from painful or challenging consequences. What I was blind to as a young, naive child, she could see clearly from the wisdom of experience.
So what does our heavenly Father tell us to do? God says that you should “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5).
Let me ask you, who or what do you pray for?
I would guess that you pray for wisdom to deal with difficult situations you’re going through. You probably pray for people you love who are struggling with health issues or making tough decisions. I’m sure you also pray to thank God for the blessings He has provided you and your loved ones.
Well, what about your enemies?
Have you ever prayed for an enemy?
It takes an immense amount of emotional, physical, and spiritual energy to manage situations in which someone is attacking you. Betrayal by others causes bitterness that can eat away at you. Your enemy’s words and actions aim at breaking you down and dominating the situation.
If this is the case, why would I suggest that you pray for them? Well, because God says so! Praying for your enemies may not be an easy step to take, but it’s imperative and is the best way to guard yourself against the attacks of your enemies.
We can see an example of this in the book of Esther.
Esther was a beautiful, orphaned Jewish girl. She was a God-fearing woman who was chosen to be the queen of a pagan king who didn’t know she was a Jew. The king was influenced by his right-hand man, Haman, who was an enemy of the Jewish people and was plotting to have them killed.
Esther found out about this plot and chose to fast and pray in response. She also risked her life to approach the king and ask for his mercy on her people, God’s people. The king’s heart softened because of how much he adored her, which caused him to overrule the plot to kill the Jews and caused the downfall of Haman.
Now, if God has the power to use an orphaned Jewish girl to change the heart of a king ready to kill an entire race of people, he certainly has the power to change the heart of your enemy. He also has the power to change you through your circumstances because you pray. Focus on glorifying God, even with those who are the hardest for you to love. Imagine the emotional health and freedom that you would experience as a result of following His instructions to pray for and love your enemy.
When you get angry or frustrated at the actions or words of an enemy, don’t let that anger poison your heart. Change your thoughts to prayers and use the situation to submit fully to God and show others His work in you. Pray not only for God to change that person’s heart, but also pray for Him to change yours.
“A man who is intimate with God will never be intimidated by men.”
– Leonard Ravenhill