Have you been hurt deeply by someone else? I would venture to say that is almost cost-of-entry for humanity. We are all broken, and we have all hurt someone or been hurt by someone in our lives.
When I was in college, my boyfriend at the time made choices that were deal breakers and I ended our relationship as a result. It was the right thing to do, but I was deeply scarred because I loved him so much. There was a constant ache in my gut at the loss of that relationship.
Then one day I ran into him and was surprised that he had started dating someone else who was a casual friend of mine. The pain of that discovery was almost unbearable.
They dated for some time and were in the same social circle as me, so there was no getting away from seeing the two of them together. It was like being in bondage. Everywhere I went, there was some reminder of the pain and the chains it put me in.
My grief turned into resentment, and I found myself secretly wishing for the demise of their relationship.
And then I felt a different ache in my stomach. It was the Holy Spirit of Jesus who lived inside of me quietly saying, “Pray for your enemies.”
I shuttered at the thought of seeing the two of them as enemies. I thought that was crazy because I didn’t want harm to fall on them, I just didn’t want their relationship to thrive!
And then I felt that same Spirit showing me that I did in fact view them as “enemies” if I wasn’t for them.
That day, I decided to do what the Bible says and pray for them both. I started by praying for him by name and asking God to make him into the man God wanted him to be. This guy had hurt me, but I decided to pray that he would not do the same to this new girl. I prayed he would cherish her and lead her well.
Then I started praying for her, that she would honor and support him in a way that would encourage him.
At first, I hated praying for them. Doesn’t that sound terrible? But it’s true.
And then guess what happened. I started craving to pray for their growth and success because every day, I felt more freedom than bondage. Every day that constant ache dulled a bit more.
As I was being released through my own prayers, I also saw God answering them. My ex-boyfriend began turning into a wonderful man. And his new girlfriend helped him thrive as a person. Today, they are married with three kids, and both serve in ministry! There is no question that they have positively impacted countless lives, as a couple.
When you decide to follow what the Bible says and pray for your enemies, it’s amazing to see what God does! You are asking the Lord to intervene in someone else’s life…isn’t that what we’re supposed to do all the time anyway? It’s just not so easy when it’s someone who has hurt you. But know that God can do amazing work in YOU when you take that step.
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.” Matthew 5:43-47 NLT
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I love these encouragements! Thank you! It is hard to pray for anyone who has hurt me. God told me to pray for someone who bullied me in 8th grade when I saw her in a store. I argued with God on how my prayers would not be good since I still harbored bitterness. By the time I got to my car, God changed my heart and I prayed for her. It is amazing how praying for our enemies changes our hearts!
Patti that’s so inspirational, thank you for sharing! I love that you have experienced how God works through praying for your enemies.
Such a beautiful reminder. Thank you for sharing this. Blessings to you. 💞
Kris thank you for your kind words. God does great things when we open up!