praying for your enemies

Its kind of like an intentional desire for a mob hit.

Praying for your enemies, I mean. Well, at least, the way most people think about it.

In my last post, I left out such an obvious way to love your enemies that I am almost a little emberrassed that it didn't cross my mind:

Praying for your enemies. This is a great way to love them! Of course, I'm not talking about praying that they will die, meet some horrible end, or really just disappear. Praying for your enemies is tricky business, so I want to offer some advice in this regard. When people usually pray for their enemies they usually ask that God will show them judgment, condemnation, or even death. Be careful what you ask for and what means you are judging your enemies, it might come back to haunt you. So!

First, when you pray for your enemies as Jesus counsels, pray for their well-being. You aren't praying that their evil ways will prosper (and all enemies are evil in your eyes, thats why they are enemies) but instead that your enemies will prosper.

And the best way that they can prosper is in finding God. Sure, pray for salvation - pray that Jesus will become real in their lives. But you aren't just praying for their soul after all the bad stuff goes down. We want them to "win" now!

When we think of sides (something I've posted before about), its true that God wants everyone to prosper - to have a more full life, and to become the children of God we can all become. We pray for that!

Second, ask how you can love them more. Its always amazing to me how creative our God is and how we get chances to show that creativity. If you pray for your enemies, pray that God will change your attitude towards them.

Third, pray to see them as Jesus sees them. Jesus ministered to tax collectors and prostitutes. He was there for the hopeless and the oppressed. Surely your enemy fits into that catagory? In the very least, we fit into it. You can appreciate how God loves someone else if you reflect on how God loves us.

I think these things will help. Don't forget to pray for your enemies. This isn't a pie-in-the-sky sure, I'm going to pray for something that won't happen, but instead an honest desire for God to really be active in the relationship/pain/anger.

Hang in there, God is with us. And God can be with our enemies too. And if that happens, we all win.