– F. F. Bruce
When You Pray for Your Enemies You Pray for Change in Yourself
It is very easy to love our friends. After all, they love us back. Whatever positive things we do for them, we can trust will be returned to us in one form or other. It is very easy to love these types of people. It isn’t as easy to pray for people who hate you and don’t want anything to do with you. It is very difficult to pray for people who repay your kindness with evil. But if we want to change our attitude about people who displease us, annoy us, or hate us, we need to pray for them.
It’s Not About You, it’s About Your Relationship with Jesus
Jesus himself said we are to love our enemies. A lot of us would rather shy away from this. Talk about a tall order. After all, it isn’t exactly human nature to love those who hurt us or show kindness to those who are unkind to us. But that’s what Jesus wants us to do. The reason for this is because when we step up to this project, we don’t rely on human nature. In fact, we can’t rely on human nature when dealing with our enemies. Otherwise, the results will be very predictable. Instead of forgiveness, understanding, love, and acceptance, we can only think of and act out revenge, getting even, and paying back. Jesus doesn’t want us to act out of human nature. He is very familiar with that side of us. Instead, he wants to give us the opportunity to trust in him and place our faith in him.
A Change of Heart and Attitude
When we pray for our enemies, people who annoy us, and people who do us wrong, we are exercising faith. We are trusting that Jesus will give us the strength to do what he wants us to do-love our enemies. When we trust, we set in motion a chain of events that lead to our transformation from within. When we trust that Jesus will carry us through, regardless of what he has asked us to do, we will get the strength we need to do his will. This is the case in praying for those we dislike. The more we pray, the more God’s grace works on our heart to change our attitude and mindset regarding the people we’re praying for. While God might not necessarily remove these people’s actions, tendencies, and attitudes, when we pray for people we dislike, God changes our attitudes towards these people. Eventually, they stop bothering or annoying us. They stop causing us to stumble. And all it takes is trusting in the Lord and letting him work his changes in our hearts.