Pray for your Enemies–How?

As I watch the world around me, I am more convinced than ever that we are entering a new age of spiritual warfare. The intensity of this war will be far stronger and more dangerous for followers of Christ than ever before.
Boy praying2Already, there are fierce battles around the world where Christians are being jailed, tortured, killed and made destitute. In our nation, the battle against believers is coming “out of the closet” and into the open. Now, officials don’t even seem to feel they need a plausible reason to oppose Christians. Even news reports often use disparaging terminology when referring to followers of Christ.
As legislation continues to pass in Congress at a breathtaking pace, it is clear that we are not very far behind Canada and most European nations in stifling believers and pastors. Each day brings new reports of someone who has surpassed the previous day’s depravities. Many times these terrible deeds are turned on their heads by news reports that tell us things aren’t as they seem—that what we thought was “evil” really isn’t.
Soon, if Congress continues on its course, it will not be legal to speak the very words of God—especially when they pertain to sins so many have fallen into. The very fact that Christians refuse to “go along” and give in to whatever lusts and desires now are legally approved, is maddening to a growing majority.
So what is a believer to do, as they see the very foundations of their country and faith being torn up and tossed aside? It’s time to use the weapons of war that God gave His followers—weapons not made of wood and steel.
The weapons God give us are the only effective means to battle an enemy that is presently not visible to human eyes. One of these weapons is prayer—and perhaps one of the most important, and first prayers Christ commands, is to forgive and pray for those who persecute you.
Does that sound strange and unnatural? Well, perhaps it is unnatural, but then we are dealing with what could be called the “supernatural”—the power Christ gives His followers to effectively fight against the legions in Satan’s army.
Sooner or later, you will be faced with an implacable enemy—one that will not be reasoned with or dissuaded no matter your diplomatic skills. Even Jesus noted, “They hated me without reason.” (John 15:25)
Within you is a great light, and the spiritual forces around you can see it. So the enemy stirs up followers against you, with little reason or rational basis—all in hopes of putting out the light within you. These attacks hurt—they hurt us, our family and those around us.
Even so, Jesus asks us to “love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matt 5:44). Jesus asks us to remember, “If the world hates you, keep in mind it hated me first. . . No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” (John 15: 18-20).
But consider this—Jesus asks us to pray for our enemies for our own protection as much as for those who hurt us.
By praying for your enemies, you prevent the enemy from planting the seeds of hatred and bitterness in your heart. You keep your heart soft and able to be shaped by the Master, rather than twisted by the master deceiver.
If you refuse to pray for your enemy, you will find your mind working in overtime turning over the insults, acts of violence, and unfair behavior you’ve endured at their hands. If you refuse to pray for your enemies, you will slowly turn into the very person who has hurt you.
Second, when you pray for your enemy you have the power to break the spiritual forces that control them. Prayer is a powerful weapon—but not as a weapon against them, but a weapon FOR them. By fighting for them, you give them another opportunity to see the reality of the path they are on. Whether they accept or reject Christ is up to them.
Third, by praying for your enemy, you push back the forces of darkness. Unless we each fight this battle, the enemy gains ground and souls in the places where we serve the King. Consider every sporting event you know—when one side gives up, the game is soon over. Unless, we are willing to fight a spiritual enemy with spiritual weapons, we forfeit not a game, but the ground God wants us to hold.
Fourth, by praying for your enemy, you fulfill the law of love. You demonstrate that Christ’s commands are more important to you than “justice” “fairness” “revenge” “payback” and every other “natural” human desire.
Finally, by praying for your enemy, you keep your hands clean of his blood. I don’t want my enemy to point to me as having a hand in his destruction—should that be his ultimate end.
By praying for your enemy, you “fight the good fight” and prove you belong to Jesus—because every molecule in you would behave differently unless Jesus were your true and only master. May God strengthen you as you serve the King of Kings in times like these.