God tells us to pray for those we love and…he tells us to pray for our enemies. Ouch…
Philippians 1:9-11 (NIV) 9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.
God’s word is so logical. Our thinking is so illogical. You and I don’t necessarily want to pray for our enemies. Just let them go to hell in a hand basket! That is, until we realize our own cracked-pot-twisted-sinful condition and what kind separation from God (hell) we truly deserve except for the love and righteousness of God. He died a horrible death in our place and then rose on the third day, all so that we could have His righteousness in us!
Think of someone you love the most. Then think of someone that causes your stomach to knot up. If you pray this Philippians 1:9-11 prayer for those you care about and for your enemies…how can you lose?
Is there someone in your life you love and yet desperately need to stop turning his or her own life (and yours) upside down? Pray this way for them. How can you lose?
Then…if you pray the same way for yourself, who knows how God will open your eyes. You might see that your perspective in a situation, something you have held tightly, has just been…wrong. We are so resistant to discovering how wrong we are. And yet…how is discovering that kind of truth anything but a step forward in making sense out of life?
If we pray for our enemies in the way it is described in Matthew by Jesus, how can we lose?
Matthew 5:43-45 (MSG) –Jesus says here: 43 “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ 44 I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, 45 for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty.
In the upside down world we live in, this can seem completely and irrevocably backwards. Yet the One who created us and knows exactly what we need, wants to teach us to think…and live…right side up!
We can do nothing but win!