Q. I know we are supposed to pray for our enemies, but I run into trouble on what to pray about? Can you give me a sample prayer for the way you would do it? I’m thinking of people who are enemies of our Country foreign and domestic.
A. The intent of the admonition to pray for those who persecute you (Matt. 5:44) is more personal than general. It has to do with praying for those who’ve wronged you for no reason, because of race or religion for example, or simply because they have power over you.
Unresolved anger is bad for our health and gives the enemy an opening to torment us (Ephes. 4:26-27). Praying for those who persecute you helps displace the anger you would otherwise feel toward them. It restores peace in your life and protects you against the enemy’s attacks. The way to pray is to ask the Lord to forgive and bless the ones who are persecuting you, and to forgive you for your anger about it.
At first, you might not feel like doing this. But if you do it anyway, if only out of obedience to the Lord, He will cause your feelings to be aligned with your actions, and it will become easier to do.
Keep praying until you no longer harbor any ill feelings toward them, so you will know for sure that you have forgiven them.
There is one form of persecution that will earn you great rewards in Heaven, and that’s being persecuted for your faith. Jesus said,
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt 5:11-12).