Matthew 5:44 “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (KJV)
Lately, the “pray for them which despitefully use you, & persecute you” part of this Scripture has been weighing heavily on my heart.
Praying for those who hurt you can be extremely difficult for even the most devoted Christian. I’m certainly no exception to that, so when God recently put it on my heart to pray more frequently for my mother after yet another difficult conversation, I was less than thrilled. I prayed for her sometimes, but not daily. Not even as often as it came into my mind that I should pray for her. It was too difficult to sincerely pray for my mother since she’s hurt me so much in my life. Once in a while, fine, but that was really about the best I could manage. Yet, God was telling me to change that.
In obedience, I decided to set a daily reminder on my cell phone to pray for my mother every morning. Once I started though, I realized that daily prayer was becoming easier & more sincere. Shortly after, God put it on my heart to add my father to the daily prayer. Once I was feeling pretty comfortable praying for them both, He wanted me to add my in-laws.
*sigh* Really? The in-laws? After all the awful things my mother in-law put me through?! The nastiness of my sisters in-law, including them updating my husband on his ex for many years after we were married?! Ok, fine. They’re on the prayer list too, although grudgingly at first.
God then expanded my prayers even more, by asking me to pray daily for a former friend of mine who hurt me deeply almost six years ago. Oh come on, God! Seriously?! Fine… added this person to my morning prayers.
Then, the icing on the cake was asking me to pray for someone who harassed me for over two years. I did that the other night for the first time. It was hard, but I did it. Already, that’s getting easier.
I’m glad I’ve started this daily prayer, even though it was hard at first. What the Bible doesn’t mention in Matthew 5:44 is that praying for people who have hurt you creates a deep peace inside. I feel more relaxed & less anger or hurt when I think of these people now. I also feel even closer to God than I did before starting this which has brought me more joy. It’s absolutely wonderful!!
I know it can be somewhat overwhelming to think about doing this, Dear Reader, but why don’t you give it a try too? It really is worth it! Pray for the person who has hurt you a great deal in your life, just because you love God & want to please Him. If at first you pray through clenched teeth, God will understand! If you tell him you’re only praying for that person because you know He wants you too even though you don’t really mean it right now, He gets that too! The more you pray, the easier it becomes, & the more peace & joy you will feel. You will be blessed!
Try it today, Dear Reader. Pray for your abuser. Ask God to help you to do so if need be. What do you have to lose?