Praying for our Enemies

worry-distress.jpgI had an employee quit in a manner that was most unbecoming. She left a bad taste in my mouth and bitterness in my heart.

I happen to drive by her house regularly as I go about my business, and it wasn’t long before I realized that every time I went down her street, anger and hate would boil in the pit of my stomach. Details of the incident would run through my mind and I would feel my heart hardening towards her.

Forgiving has been a lesson in my walk with God that I have had to learn, and, up until that point, I thought I had learned it well. I knew enough to know that if left unchecked, the bitterness in my heart would only affect me and my life.

The only one my unforgiveness was hurting was myself.

One day, a few months after the incident, as I drove by her house with resentment rising in my heart, I noticed that her grass was knee-high, uncut and wild. An ivy vine grew up on one side of her house, over a window and into her roof. It was late afternoon, but there were no lights on in the house. In fact, the house looked abandoned, even though there were cars in her driveway.

I decided to pray for her.

I prayed that God would help me in my unforgiveness; that He would bless her financially; that He would liberally provide for all of her needs according to His riches and glory. I prayed for her young daughter, that God would bless her and comfort her and keep her as she went through her schooling. I prayed for her husband, that God would draw her husband onto Him and that she and her husband would develop an intimate relationship with Jesus as their savior, and God as their Father.

I said that prayer every time I drove by her house.

About two months later, I was driving by her house when I noticed a marked difference.  The grass had been cut and the ivy vine was gone. The house just looked better.

Incredulously, I exclaimed to God, “You’re blessing her?!”

God’s response was immediate, but gentle, “What did you think I would do when you prayed and asked me to bless her?”

Revelation filled my heart.

I burst out laughing as I realized that a part of me had hoped for heaps of burning coals, brimstone and fire on her head. But God! In His infinite wisdom, God had used this as an opportunity to check my heart.

Was I serious about letting it go and forgiving her?

Was I serious about blessing her?

God hadn’t judged the sincerity of my prayer. He had simply used it as a teaching lesson for me. That day as I drove by her house and saw the changes, a new heart-check revealed that the bitterness over the way she had quit was gone. The anger and hate I felt for her had been replaced by compassion. I had forgiven her.

God tells us to pray for our enemies:

“But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” ~ Matthew 5:44

The truth is, we are all God’s children. Even when we do bad things, or act in less than a Christ-like manner, we are still His, and He still cares for us. Praying for our enemies helps us fight the chains of unforgiveness. It gives us a heart of compassion. It moves God’s heart.

When our prayers line up with the will of God, the heart of God, our prayers work!

If you’re finding it hard to let go of a situation or forgive someone who’s hurt you, pray to God and ask for His help.

Dear God, help my unforgiveness! Let me not grow bitter over this situation and the people involved. Help me to forgive them father. Use this situation God. Let your will be done. In Jesus’s name! Amen

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Do you have a story of forgiveness to share? Do you have a story of answered prayer to share? Please comment below.

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