Sermon on the Mount 2014: Day 8

Praying for your (personal) enemies

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Today's Text: Matthew 5:38-48

Text: Matthew 5:38-48

“But I say, ‘Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!”
– Matthew 5:44, NLT

In studying this passage, I was confident I knew what Jesus was telling me. How many of us have heard His words, “Love your enemy, pray for those who persecute you”?

And I do, I thought smugly. I pray for the people out there who hurt others, who cause pain with their words, and so many more.

Then I stumbled on a sermon from a pastor who challenged his listeners to think of someone they didn’t like, personally. Then he asked them to commit to praying for that person every night—for their own attitude towards that person and their good qualities.

My pen froze on my little, neatly-lined writing pad. Instantly names flashed into my mind, and the thought of them made me cringe. Then the thought of interrupting my prayer time with memories of them— No, that wasn’t the way prayer should be. It would ruin it.

I want to tell you my heart was so pulled by those words and my own obvious discomfort that I went to bed and prayed for those people. In all honesty, I just skipped talking to God that night instead.

Now I sit here today at my kitchen table, praying over these words in my Bible as I prepare to explain, in my own humanity, what Matthew 5:38-48 means to me, and that sermon pops into my head again.

Personal enemies.

“Why didn’t you pray for them?” a little voice asks. (Nothing like a good, old fashioned Holy Spirit nudge!)

I’ve thought it over. For an hour now. And here is what I’ve come up with:

  • Because it hurts.
  • Because I don’t want to think about them.
  • Because I’m afraid I might have to think about what I did in that situation.
  • Because I don’t want to let them back into my life.

Here’s the beautiful thing about prayer, though—it’s for us. It’s not for guilting ourselves into returning to a dysfunctional relationship and being a doormat for Jesus. It’s not for beating ourselves up over what we did wrong. Prayer and repentance help guide us to healing. Maybe the healing happens on both ends—ours and our enemy’s. Maybe it’s just in our own heart. The passage says to love and pray for our enemies “that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” He is our Father who forgives and heals us and reconciles us to Him!

Loving your enemies isn’t simply about praying from afar— it is also for those who have or have had an intensely personal role in our lives. That’s part of Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:44. Through love and prayer comes healing from resentment, bitterness, anger. We’re able to come closer to Christ’s command to “be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (v. 48) as we confess the hardness in our own hearts to the One who understands perfect love.

Do you have your person yet? Is it hard to think about praying for them? Then maybe this is exactly the place where God wants you to bring it to Him.

8

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  • Lauren Butler

    This. This is a message my heart needs to be reminded of a lot. My heart can become so burdened and hard with a spirit of unforgiveness, and there is such freedom in lifting enemies up to the Father.

  • Hannah Byler

    Wow, such and inspiration! I needed that today!

  • Paige Petron

    I needed this today. So thankful for the people here and the app. I feel very at peace for what I’m about to face.

  • Yes, though it is very difficult, I need to pray for my enemies or just people I don’t like and show them Christ’s love through my prayer and actions toward them!

  • Alexandria

    I always have to remind myself to not only pray for my enemy (which I can get smug doing) but also over my attitude and love towards them. Praying to have love and compassion to someone that has been so hurtful is so challenging, but it is what Christ would do! The challenging moments like these help me to realize even more how perfect and amazing Christ was and how someone so worthy died for us! Great post!

  • Wow what an inspiring and challenging devotional. Thank you Diana for your honesty and for sharing your thoughts on this very difficult passage. I think for me it can be difficult to pray for my personal enemies because what has brought those relationships to that place is never one-way! I have to think about my part in whatever the situation has been. That means forgiving myself as much as the other person. Also, I think a lot of the time when relationships become difficult it is easy to just avoid that person, put them in a box in your mind, and not think about them. Sometimes this works, particularly if they are no longer actively in your life. However I had not previously thought about how these negative thoughts can still come in-between us and God. As Diana says, praying for our enemies reconciles us with God. Such a challenge for me today!

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  • This is such a hard word of Jesus to be obedient to. I have seen change through gritting my teeth and doing it. Yet even with that it is still hard to do. It can be emotionally confusing though and would be better with a trusted confidante to share with. Praying and forgiving is not the same thing as reconciliation. It seems in my experience the praying leads to a softening which leads to the ability to forgive which leads to loving, but it is more how God works in me for healing , and is separate from whether the relationship is healed. That takes the other person to be accountable for their part in the difficulty. And to be following Christ’ s counsel as well.

  • I feel like the hardest person for me to forgive right now is myself.

    In the past couple of years there has been a lot of healing in my life with different relationships… I can honestly say I have forgiven my mom who was verbally abusive to me and a couple weeks ago I saw my step mom for the first time in 7 years without a trace of bitterness left from my experience with her and her impact on my family. There’s always ways to improve and I trust that there will continue to be healing, but honestly after all of the work that has gone into healing those situations, I am still left with wild insecurities within myself. It’s hard to love me. It’s hard to forgive myself and let go of the reasons I have to hate who I am. This idea might be different than exactly what the devo was talking about, but it’s what came to mind when I was thinking about who I need to forgive.

  • Hesedel

    I have read this devotion so many times, searching my heart, asking the Lord to soften my heart. I know in my head being hurt and betrayed by someone is no reason to stop praying for them and no reason to ruin my own life by becoming bitter and resentful. And yet when little things trigger all the memories my first reaction is still to push back. God help me pray for my personal enemies and may I extend the grace you have given me and be changed by you in the process.

  • Nikki G.

    It’s like I feel justified in being angry with him. I feel like I should be, like I deserve to be, and have the right to be angry with him. So, praying for my attitude to be changed toward him and for my heart to be softened seems…on one level, wrong. He doesn’t deserve my grace. Why would I give it to him? Why would I waste prayers on him? Of course I hear myself and know how incredibly sinful and unChristlike all of those statements are…but…it’s still how I feel. This time it’s logic vs. emotion…but they’ve switched roles. What a strange feeling…

  • Nikki G.

    I’m having trouble trying to figure out how/what to pray for a man who owes me a significant amount of money. Long story short (and probably bias), I consulted for his company. He lied about his company’s level of funding and was/is unable to pay me for what adds up to $20,000+ in outstanding invoices. Now he’s gone MIA and won’t respond to me. It’s looking like my only option will be to take him to court. So, needless to say, he checks off a few of the requirements for “enemy”.

    It’s not that I don’t think I should pray for him. It’s that I can’t think of WHAT to pray that wouldn’t be completely self-serving to benefit me. Do I ask that God opens this man’s heart to see the err in his ways? That’d be for me. Do I ask that God help this man’s company succeed so he can make money and meet his outstanding invoices he owes me? That’d be for me too. How can I pray for him that’s actually…for him and not for me?

    • Jes

      I think you can pray all those things and also ask god what to pray for him about too. Then I liked in the devo how it said to pray for our own attitudes towards those enemies and our own hardness of heart toward them. I’m praying for my husbands affair partners and was wondering the same thing how do I not pray selfishly or without resentment? I can’t yet so I’m asking God to help me to pray for them unselfishly and without resentment.

  • Ellen Adams

    Feeling convicted! I’m on a business trip today with a girl I really don’t like. Thank you Jesus for not leaving me where I’m at.

  • Jennifer

    Personal enemies are an interesting comment because whenever I see things like “love your enemy”, I don’t usually think someone who has hurt me personally so praying for them isn’t personal either. However, this made me reflect more and, similarly, cringe at what I came up with. But with more reflecting, I have realized that gaining an understanding of these people through thought and prayer has given me more insight not only into God’s character but into my own

  • Hayley Tancak

    ^^^kristen yesss! this one is tough. but so needed

  • Kristen

    I think this is exactly the sort of thing the church needs to hear right now. We get so caught up in pointing out everyone’s sins that we forget the love. We forget that we’re here to lead them to Jesus by showing them the same love that He showed us- unconditional, nonjudgmental, all-encompssing. Just … yes. This devotion really hit me hard.

  • This one strikes a real cord.

  • This comes on a day when I find out a close friend has been sexually assaulted by her roommate’s boyfriend… And the roommate is urging her not to report it and blaming her! To be honest, the last thing I want to do tonight is pray for people who would hurt someone the way they have, but only Heavenly Father can change a hard and cold heart. My heart is heavy tonight, but I pray for healing.

    • Nia

      I hate reading this Kira! Has anything different come of this situation? Can I be praying?

  • Forgiveness is pursuing healing :) Love this

  • Although it may be hard to pray for your enemy pray for them , it will not only bring you closure but help that person in need. Way bigger need than you need.

  • Camilla E

    Grateful for the challenge

  • Olivia Rodriguez

    Olivia, keep your head up. God opens & closes doors for a reason. Keep in mind what your standards are for dating and the guy you are dating. Don’t lower anything because he falls short of it. You’re beautifully and wonderfully made! When you find a guy who treats you that way (and you to him), you’ll find peace in that! Praying for you girl!

  • Olivia Applegate

    any advice for a girl with a broken heart? just found out today my boyfriend cheated on me and I’m so hurt..and the farthest from feeling the need to pray for him. I could use some encouragement please

    • Brianna

      The only advice I can give you is that God shut that door because He is preparing you for something even greater. It is super easy for me to say that when I have never felt the pain that you must be feeling but I do believe with my whole heart that God doesn’t say no for no reason. I will be praying for you and your heartbreak.

    • Olivia Rodriguez

      Posted this in a separate comment but: Olivia, keep your head up. God opens & closes doors for a reason. Keep in mind what your standards are for dating and the guy you are dating. Don’t lower anything because he falls short of it. You’re beautifully and wonderfully made! When you find a guy who treats you that way (and you to him), you’ll find peace in that! Praying for you girl!

    • Annie

      In the same vein. Happened to myself also. You are not alone, girl. There’s a girl here nursing a broken heart- and we’re all going to be okay one day.

  • Earlier today I had thought to myself if I walk away from those one are hard to love, and expect others to love them instead. Am I truly living in the way God calls us to love? What happens if no one cares for the outcast? Aren’t they too children of God? Have I, myself, not been the outcast who has needed someone to show me the love of Christ?
    As these questions created a discomfort within me, I opened my SRT devo and found this…

    “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?”

    Ask and you will receive. God always provides. Feeling thankful for a God that never abandons me in my discomfort.

  • Praying for someone I personal have bad feelings for is a hard thing to do. One person in particular, my biological father. He’s said things and done things that I am just not ready to let go or not think about when it comes to him. Not wanting me his life or being a part of his new family. Him never being there like a father should regardless of whether or not he and my mother were together. I don’t like to think about him I used to pray for him, but that would drudge up memories. I know this scripture is about praying for your enemies, and in all honesty, he is my enemy. It is really hard to pray for someone you don’t like even if it’s for yourself and not them. I still wonder why I should pray for them, pray for someone who hurt me so deeply. I am still learning and I am still growing.

    • Meredith

      Thanks for being to honest and genuine! I think it’s awesome that your willing to be obedient to God even when it’s really hard for you to see the good purposes behind His commands. I admire your trust in Him.

    • Delaney

      Girl, I’m in the same boat. Right now the thought of praying for my dad makes me freeze.

  • I have been getting promptings here and there from the Holy Spirit to forgive someone who I became resentful towards. Over the course of 8 months, I was deeply hurt + it caused a lot of damage. I thought I had forgiven them, but when the thought of them made all the memories come back and I had my list ready of what they’d done, I knew my heart wasn’t free in forgiveness. It’s a hard journey to forgive, especially when you want to feel justified, especially when that personal enemy isn’t sorry for what they did. But I’ve been learning that forgiveness isn’t a moment of feeling, but it is a discipline of the mind. It’s dying to my flesh. My flesh doesn’t want to think about this person, but the spirit knows that forgiveness + prayer for this person will be healing + freedom for me. Thanks for this great devo! It’s awesome to know I’m not alone, and I feel encouraged to seek God + start the journey to loving my enemies. :)

  • Brittany

    This is so true! Some of my sisters in law can be kind of crazy. They want things their own way and lash out at anybody who they think they can blame. It would be so easy to be hurt and let bitterness take hold and to push them away, but every time I start feeling like that, I feel God telling me to pray for them! And when I do, I begin to see hope for them and their families. I begin to see that God wants to heal their hearts and restore their relationships! Lord Jesus, I pray you will continue to give me your perspective on my life so that I may love people the way You love them. Amen!

  • Brittany C.

    My sister in laws ( husbands side) have done nothing but insult me and my children over race and anything g they can think of. I’ve harbored hatred in my heart for the things they do and say about my girls and me. I felt exactly how the author today felt… It hurts too much, I don’t want to think about it over and over again, it won’t fix anything. But now I’ve come to see that even if It doesn’t fix it may end of fixing my hurting heart and mending this side of a relationship. I’ll be journaling this hopefully soon.

  • I read this and immediately broke down in tears. I’ve had sins weighing over my heart for so long over problems with personal enemies. I am happy to say that you have helped me to think about those and confess them to the Lord! I feel as if a huge burden has been lifted off my shoulders tonight! Thank you!

  • Personal enemies? I like to think I have none, I try, somewhat foolishly, to cultivate love for everyone. But my efforts are in vain because it is my works, not the Holy Spirit working in me. I can think of a couple people, I wouldn’t call them enemies but I’ve felt judged and hurt by them, and I feel envious of them. I could start there.

  • HeatherRebekah

    there are two men who have caused my sister and her girls so much pain. I had such anger toward them….because of what they did and how heart breaking it is especially when its to people you love immensely. But then God showed me that they hurt others becausr of the sin in their hearts…and I may not have done what they did but Im just as much a sinner that needs Gods grace and forgiveness. And when i started to pray for them that anger was replaced with a desire for them to find healing in Christ. It doesnt justify their wrongs but it opens up my heart to give and recieve forgiveness. And to believe God loves them just as much as He loves my sister, my nieces and me.

  • Diane Huntsman

    I am in a similar place with my sister in law, Alise, except the sad thing is we are both long time believers who should know better and work harder at reconciliation.. But we haven’t.. It’s been 5 long years, it involves the entire families, so it’s more complicated than it just being the two of us, but the resentment and fear of future rejections and hurt is the big block for making moves towards reconciliation.. I think what we need to be continually reminded of is Romans, that our battles aren’t against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers of darkness.. The devil wants us believing our issues are with one another when really selfishness and ugliness of heart are the problems and he is the author of those attitudes. It doesn’t really matter who did what, who stated it, who hurt who the most, it’s about leaning into Christ for Him to be the source for us to forgive and do good to those who hurt us.. It’s about letting go and living out the grace extended to us by the Savior who died for us.. We just have to get over ourselves and be to them what Jesus has been to us, a forgiver of all wrongs and a lover of who we are despite our dysfunctions. Lord empower us to love the hard to love and love even when we aren’t loved in return.. Help us to be like you!

  • My sister in law and I had a falling out a few years ago. She ceased communication with me. It really hurt. at first it was just hurt, but it turned into anger and then eventually bitterness. So when she accepted Jesus as her Lord and came to me asking for forgiveness and then started pursuing a friendship with me again, I was pretty floored and not totally willing to let her back into my life. By the grace of God, our relationship is slowly being redeemed, BUT there are many days when I still fall back on my old bitter feelings toward her. Her name popped into my head immediately as I read this study. I still have to surrender this to God. It’s something I rarely pray about and yet it has and still is deeply affecting me. God is teaching me that I need to trust him fully in this. It’s difficult to trust God with my vulnerabilities and fears of another rejection and betrayal of trust. But I can trust him to be good and just right??

  • Courtney

    This truth has totally changed my life over the past year, but I am constantly challenged by it. Faced with my own faults, the weaknesses of others, and brutal misunderstandings I am brought to my knees to find this place once again. The desire for the spiritual and eternal fruit of forgiveness and repentance is strong and the Holy Spirit gives me the grace to go to that place. Holding onto resentment, bitterness, and offense will only result in sin and gradual spiritual death. This was an awesome reminder and it came at the perfect time for me once again

  • Such a difficult thing to forgive and pray for someone who has hurt you. I’m bad at holding grudges against others so turning the other cheek seems next to impossible for me. But I understand it’s the only way that I will ever be able to release the resentment I have towards them. I’m sure those past situations are bothering me more than they bother them. Tonight I pray that God will help me to let go of this pain and realize that he has forgiven me of my sins that were much worse than anything anyone has done to me. I pray he will teach me how to forgive and love like Him. I serve an awesome God!

  • Andrea Taylor

    Its impressive how a name truly did jump out when I was reading that. I may have to do some soul searching and heavy praying tonight. May God help me let go of grudges and pray for them.

  • Crystal Lynn

    I am still hard hearted and allowing my hurt to overshadow my faith in this hurt. More than likely its pride, fear, etc. pray for me sisters. That God will give me the desire and the ability to forgive and love completely in this situation

  • I loved this reading. I’m so convicted. Thank you SRT for all your efforts and this amazing app that keeps His Word near. I’m going to take this challenge of praying for your enemies every night. To bring peace back into my heart. He is so good to us. I’m so blessed by this message. Thank you again

  • She Reads Truth- I love this app and devos! I just wish there was something that showed when we already read a devotional/ plan, like a check mark or something. :)

    • SheReadsTruth

      Hi Kelly! So happy to hear from you! This feature is available for our Bible In A Year plan, and it is on our wish list to add to the others! We love having you here!

      xo-Kaitlin

  • Shelly H.

    This one has really impacted me … and my feelings toward some. The hurt is tremendous and the wanting to wall it all off is even greater. Only with His help can I kneel and pray for them … and me … and try to love them.

  • Caleigh Rebecca

    I needed this this week. It’s so hard sometimes to forgive people who hurt us, and I’ve held a grudge. I thought that if I prayed for them that I would have to let them back into my life and that scared me. Thank you so much for writing this. You’ve encouraged me to pray for my enemies and forgive them.

  • Prayer is for me…
    That is such a great reminder that prayer is a gift from God for me to use to be with him.

  • Michelle Dogterom

    Prayer isn’t about guilting us into returning to a dysfunctional relationship and being a doormat for Jesus…I felt so free reading that. Gotta remember guilt is a tool of the enemy and conviction is of the Lord- conviction also brings hope where as guilt condemns you and binds you.

  • Waynette

    I recently have worked by Gods Grace to repair two relationships in my life. One of these people I haven’t seen or really spoke to in almost two years because the hurt was great. The other person is so dear to me that I can’t go another day angry at or distant from. God has poured love over me as I’m working to get things set straight. I never realized that my enemy could be a friend who betrayed me. But yet I must forgive and love them. Thank you Jesus!

  • Thanking God for his grace. 1 peter4:8 love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins.

  • Mrs.Walton

    I have three on that list and God please give me the ability to pray for our relationship and that healing. They have hurt me in so many ways and I am so exhausted from feeling this sadness.

  • THEacLaFond

    I didn’t think of enemies, exactly, when I read this passage. What really convicted me was the photo at the end. I’m a sixth grade teacher, and some of my kids… I genuinely love to be around them, to talk to them, to hear what they have to say. But there are a few who just Get. On. My. Nerves. Those are really the ones who need me, though, or really, who need God’s love through me. I just need a transformation. That’s been my recurring prayer for the last several weeks.

  • Definitely needed this tonight. Thank you.

  • Many people came to my mind. Time to write them down and pray. I think prayer is becoming my constant discipline for everything.

  • Ouch, this hit right to my core. Thankful for this post, definitely something I need to change about my prayer life when it comes to personal enemies.

  • MorganVelez

    Oh Lord, forgive me for wasting all that time complaining about these people, instead of praying for them. And teach me to adapt that principle in the moment.

  • Ouch, God knows what he is doing. This one is touchy.

  • I actually really needed to hear this today. I don’t get to my devotional every day and in God’s glorious providence, he provided this. Feeling bitterness towards people who benefit from knowledge and training and are not in my team. Bitterness at people why show little regard or care for others (my friends) property and return it to them damaged without care. The part of me that is so bent on justice and things being honorable and right often forgets in that moment of bitterness how short I fall. So this morning, I will pray for myself and those people in my life and my friends. We all need grace.

  • O, boy. This touches home. I’ll need your help, God. This won’t be easy!!!!

  • God knows! Just yesterday I didn’t go somewhere bc there were people there that are hard to be around. They make me so uncomfortable, so out of my comfort zone, so out of my ” loveable” zone! God knew this was coming for me. I’ve run hard from loving these people for years! But one of the screen shots you have already got me…”love people deeply” Why can’t I? I started some small prayers about loving them, but not serious. Like I am committing to not miss a day of this Bible study, I will pray seriously for them, that I will love them deeply. Thank you for exposing my sin!

  • Emerald Lee

    What a great teaching. This IS my struggle. I am also comforted in reading i am not the only one that struggles with bitterness.

  • I read this devotional this morning and it pretty much went in one ear and out the other. I felt that I was so confident that I was fortunate enough not to have any “personal enemies” and that there was nothing I needed to do or change. But sure enough, today a situation occurred that arose lots of those sensitive, I-don’t-want-to-think-about-this kind of feelings and I realised that I needed to reread today’s scripture. This is such an excellent reminder that the only way WE can overcome the trials that we face regarding others is to pray. God might not change them, but he sure can change us. I am so grateful that I know the Lord and can trust Him to soften my heart and guide me through these difficult times.

  • Brittany Attard

    This devotional totally spoke to me— especially her reasoning for not wanting to pray for them. My question is, what does that prayer look like? How should we approach the King in this situation?

    • Rach

      I think CS Lewis wrote about this and said the best way is to pray for basic things for the person first-daily bread type stuff-and as we do that, we grow to see them as humans like is, and eventually grow to love and forgive them as God does.

  • Jennifer

    This is so hard. I can pray for most of those that have angered me or hurt me but there are those few that it hurts to even think about. Makes it hard to pray for them.

  • Sarah Harmon

    Thank you so much for this devotional! Today spoke amazing truth to me! Thank you!

  • I’ve really struggled with this. It’s been hard not to mentally block out those that have really damaged you’re heart in the past. I’m thankful for this reading today and thankful that God is reminding me as a college student that even though I can choose who I may spend time with and care about that I need to be intentional with my prayers and reach out to those who are “unlovable”.

    • Marissa Morgan

      I just graduated from college and am beginning grad school and I am experiencing the same thing. It it so easy to just ignore and cultivate anger and bitterness against those who hurt you. I did that towards a roommate for many years until The Lord clearly spoke to me about this same thing. I have forgiven her and I am so much more free. If I think about her, it still hurts a little, but I know I’m free and forgiven and I continue to pray for her. Keep going Kat!

  • I’ve always struggled to personalize this passage like you. That did it! Thank you.

  • Joni Earikson Tada has the best sermon about forgiveness . “Forgiving as You Have Been Forgiven.” It truly changed my life-and that was after 20 years of walking with The Lord!

  • Kat Hansen

    I love how Jesus is always calling me out of my comfort zone. He loves asking me do the uncomfortable so that I can have more love, peace, grace, and Him in my heart.

    • SheReadsTruth

      I love that, too, Kat! Thank you so much for sharing!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • Needed to read this today, there has been someone on my mind all morning which has been making me really upset but I know I need to pray for them. Thank you. Thank you also for being so transparent and genuine.

  • it’s so upsetting sometimes, when i realize how often i need to be reminded that loving others is a commandment from jesus. and that even if I don’t HE loves them…

  • Beth Biggers

    I didn’t think I would have anyone on my list. So I asked The Lord. Apparently I have seven (seven!). Ouch.

    • SheReadsTruth

      Haha, Beth! It tends to work that way, doesn\’t it :) I\’m praying that I continue to ask God who I should be praying for just like you! Thanks for joining us!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • This is the first time I’ve actually prayed for the person who has hurt me. Once you see them as God sees them, it’s a little easier to know what to pray. Good word!

    • SheReadsTruth

      Hi, Sarah! Wow, it\’s so wonderful to hear that! I\’m so thankful for what God\’s teaching you and that you\’re sharing it with us!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • Crystal Lively

    This is for me!!

  • Jen Smith

    Man, this teaching has been hitting me right in the gut the last couple days. A family member isn’t my enemy but has made it a point to be an enemy towards me. I fear she’s listening to the wrong voice and the wrong peoples advice. I’ve prayed for over two years for a mended relationship and I’m struggling to still show love in spite of constant attacks.

  • Mary Elizabeth

    I think that loving our enemies is one of those truths that is just plain and simple hard sometimes! We just have to take a deep breath and hand things over to Christ .

    • SheReadsTruth

      It is hard, Mary Elizabeth! Thankful for a God who longs to help us! We love having you here!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • I felt confused by thus passage. I also struggle with feeling loving toward my parents bc they are so excessively negative and critical. Their Christianity is and always has been about keeping ‘the rules’ (in fact they’re part of a church fight over this). Do these verses mean I have to put up with all that to show love? I have a really hard time being around them and listening to everything. All their conflict makes me want to stay away. Is that against what Christ is teaching?

    • Liz

      Sarah-first of all, what a tough spot to be in! Conflict with parents is no fun.

      I think its interesting that when Jesus gave the command to love our enemies he didn’t qualify it. He didn’t say to love them if they’re Christians or if they’re family or if you messed up something in the relationship, etc., he just said love them. Although I think it would’ve been much easier had he given certain criteria our enemies must possess in order to love them! But then again, that would’ve been going against what he was getting at… I think the reason Jesus doesn’t give us a few handy bullet points for what our enemies should be like/do in order for us to love them is because it’s not about them – it’s about our heart. And that’s hard! While praying for your parents might not take away their tendency towards rule following or the conflict with their church, it will change your heart towards them and those subjects. Jesus doesn’t command us to fix our enemies but rather to obey him and pray for them (as incredibly difficult as that is sometimes!). My hope for myself (and you!) is that I’ll allow God to change my heart through prayer, not so the situation with my enemies will change, but so I will be more like Jesus!

  • This is something I’ve always struggled with, for the same reason of not wanting to feel like I’m letting that person back in to my life. In reality, how is that going to make me feel better? And how is that going to let Christ help them any more than he may already be? This is one of those times I have to get on my knees before God and truly pray for them, regardless of what my past personal feelings may be.

  • This is something I’ve ALWAYS struggled with. I’d rage just shove it under a door mat, de friend them on social media and call it good. What would it look like to pray for them instead? I know they hurt me but I feel like when we hurt others it’s often because we are hurting too. So I’m going to make a change and pray for them. Maybe they are hurting and need some healing of their own. Praying for a softened heart for myself.

    • SheReadsTruth

      This was so convicting, Anna! It\’s amazing to think that praying instead will make all the difference. Thanks for sharing, we love having you here!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • It is so hard to love and pray for our enemies, but the Holy Spirit showed me that we are in good company. Luke 23:34, Acts 7:60. Both Jesus and Stephen prayed for their enemies with their dying breath. Thanks for this!

  • Wow. I NEEDED to hear this.

    The person I have in mind is my mother. Although I love her for her many wonderful qualities, she hurts me time and time again with her words–she has clearly vocalized that I have disappointed her as a daughter. Growing up, I felt that I have always fought to make her proud (career, school, relationships) and always seem to come short of her standards.

    Anyway, I will be living with her for the next 2 yrs while I am in nursing school (to save money). We can tolerate each other for the most part, but this passage is showing me that God calls me beyond toleration. He calls me to deeply love my mother, accept her, and always give her the benefit of the doubt.

    I will be praying for my attitude towards her EVERY NIGHT for this next week. I will think of all the qualities that I love about her.

    • SheReadsTruth

      Mari, feeling like you\’ve disappointed a parent is a tough place to be in. Praying that God would restore your relationship with her and continue to show you your worth in Him! It\’s a beautiful thing for you to be praying for her. Love to you!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • This is so good. I want to live set apart. I want to live differently than the world, to be a light on a hill. Love the unlovable in my own life because even the world love those worthy of love. Such a challenging Word, but one I know I need to live as Christ has called me to.

    • SheReadsTruth

      Amen! Thanks for joining us today, Dana!!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • Taylor Beck

    Pray for all enemies! I needed this right now, however hard it is to come to terms with.

  • It’s often placed on my heart that I should pray for the people that I so often like to talk/complain about. I should pray for them instead of talking about them. I must put that into action!

  • Jessica N

    This was so good and so hard. But maybe that’s the answer to finally healing from deep hurt.

  • It’s hard to pray for someone when even at the thought of them, your stomach is in knots. But I know I need to.

  • This one is so good and so hard. I often make excuses for myself instead of praying for the people who have hurt me. Thank God for lessons and grace.

  • Cristina Guzman

    I find it so comforting that God is always working on us because right when I opened up this app for today, I was thinking of THE enemy in my life that hurts me daily and I wanted answers on what I could do to lessen the hurt. Prayer!

    • Ashlynn

      That’s so awesome Christina, and I felt something similar. The Lord is ALWAYS working in our lives and that’s such a comforting thought!

  • Sharyl Williams

    Today God is convicting me about how and why I pray for my enemies.. He tells me to love them. Only the Holy Spirit can change my heart to that :-) I believe he wants me to pray good things for their lives, and show me how I can demonstrate his love towards them. He gives the example that he bestows sun and rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous- maybe he is calling me to put my prayer into action and watch for ways I can be a blessing in the lives of people I perceive as my enemies- even though that may be the last thing I feel like doing :-)

  • Hannah Christmas

    Oh, this is so hard for me. I have been wronged and seriously hurt by a few people, and when they left my life, I was so relieved. But I still carry so many bitter thoughts about them, and sometimes I’ll even share those thoughts when their names come up in conversation. I am told to pray for them by my sweet and loving husband, but it’s so hard for me. I think mostly because I know it will heal that resentment and bitterness, and I don’t want to let it go. I think that’s justice, but I know it’s not. It’s not because I am sure that I have wronged people in the same ways I have been wronged, and I know people are struggling with the same situation as me. And I know that I would like them to pray for me still. It just comes down to me getting off my high horse and humbling myself to not keeping score.

    • Liz

      Yes! I totally resonate with what you said about *wanting* to stay bitter. What a terrible place to be in! But that is the state of my heart when I think about praying for my enemies. I would rather have my heart stay hard and bitter than risk an unwanted outcome that prayer might bring. Thanks for your honesty, Hannah!

  • This is big challenge for me! It’s so hard to pray for those that have hurt you . I need to understand God wants me to do it to soften my heart and understand he can do much more than I can . Great lesson I will be letting it marinate all day!

  • Praying for our enemies is a difficult task. One that takes a lot of humility and faith in God. When we’ve been hurt by someone, our first instinct isn’t to pray for them. But by praying for them, we truly do find freedom and healing from pain. And it’s a daily process, not necessarily something that happens over night. So keep praying! And release all bitterness and anger in our Father’s hands! I pray that the Lord’s peace would rule in our hearts.

    • SheReadsTruth

      Amen, Lauren! Thanks for sharing your heart with us today! We love having you here.

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • It’s so simple but it’s so hard.
    Definitely something I need to work on.

  • Yes I have 2 persons!! I’m gonna start now!!

    • SheReadsTruth

      Excited to see how God moves, Paula! Thanks for joining us!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • wow… I've recently had to make the decision to let go of someone I truly love and care about because of fighting with people that also loved them. It is the hardest thing I have had to do. I couldn't let them be torn apart anymore like the baby in Solomon's court. I had to be the one who loved them enough to let them go even if the person getting him wasn't whom I wanted him with. I was hurt by the other people tremendously, I thought things I regret about them, and maybe I was too open to others with the situation. I don't regret being open with what I was going through, although it ultimately led to the fall. I regret the things I thought about those people. No maybe they are true and maybe not, but that doesn't matter. Since all of this I have prayed daily for them. My prayer hasn't been for my own personal gain, but that even if I never get back the person I lost that God come in and soften their hearts… towards me, towards the situation, towards the person I love.

    • SheReadsTruth

      Thank you for sharing with us, K.B.! We are blessed by your vulnerability. Praying for you and your loved one, that God would instill peace in each of your hearts!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • Alexandra Chacara

    Thanks for this convicting message today. Often, I tend to only think about those who hurt me but never actually pray. And it is so true that prayer is for us, thank you for emphasizing that important point.

  • Sloane Stallone

    So so freeing

  • Sarah Green

    This was so on time for me. I’m beginning a new chapter in life and before I do that, I realize that I have to reconcile with ppl that have hurt me. Praise God!

    • SheReadsTruth

      Hi Sarah! We are so excited to have you with us today. Praying for you in your new chapter and as you pray for those who have hurt you! Love to you!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • This is so good, and so hard. I struggle with hate towards the father of my younger sisters 4 year old. I’ve been convicted about this in the past and thought I was past it. I has convicted about it again a few devotions ago and the more I think about him the angrier I become. When I started reading this devo I just thought, “ok God, I get it.” As much as I understand I don’t need to feel this way about him, it’s very hard to change. I feel like even if I pray for him I’m not really being genuine in doing so.

    • Kaitlyn Crocker

      It’s so hard to untangle our emotions from the truth of actions. It’s totally okay that when you start praying for him that you don’t feel “genuine” or like you mean it. All The Lord asks us to do is submit to His will and to pray, to show actions of goodwill towards our enemies. Eventually your heart might change to reflect these feelings. Either way, freedom and release will come through your actions and obedience to The Lord.

    • SheReadsTruth

      Hi Rachel! I\’m so thankful for everything God is teaching you and love that you shared it with us! We love having you here!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • KimberlyCheyenne

    This post really encouraged me to pray for my younger brother. I am not really sure what he is struggling with because he doesn’t talk much to me or my parents no matter how much coercing there is. He used to be this fun and joyful child and now he always is saying hurtful things to me as our other brother as well as our parents. At times, I get so tired of it that I really consider just giving up in pleading for his case to Jesus. So, thank you for this post because I took it as encouragement that I know my Savior and I truly believe in the change that He will make in my life as well as my brother’s through the awesome power of prayer.

    • SheReadsTruth

      Kimberly, I love your heart! Praying for you and your family and excited to see God move and teach you! We love having you here!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

    • Kitzeal

      Wow Kimberly – you are a great example of praying for someone selflessly. Keep it up and I will to

  • Carol Hyatt

    This passage and previous posts made me realize that I need to earnestly pray for my oldest daughter. We struggle in our relationship because I try so hard to make her a happier person when in fact only she can make herself happy. If any of you can give suggestions on how I can help her, please let me know. She’s a very bitter 32 yr. old, SINGLE young woman . She constantly mourns because she’s unmarried and desperately wants children. What do I say to her when she points out that this friend or that acquaintance is having a baby out of wedlock? Or this friend who already has a baby is getting married ? What do I say when she says “why am I saving myself ?”

    • Devon

      Wow! That is hard! Not exactly the same but I struggled with infertility for nine years before our dd joined our family. I felt like I just wanted someone to listen. To just validate that this is a hard situation for her. Maybe try to see things from her point of view. Life is not working out how she thought it would and that can be a bitter pill to swallow. You’ll prob be most effective in prayer. She sounds a bit like me in that she is bitter, jealous and still wanting to control her own life. Those are great areas to pray for.

      • Carol Hyatt

        Thanks for a different insight Devon. The most recent episode was last week when a former classmate had a huge church wedding, white dress and all . She was a single mom and found someone to love her and the baby. I asked my dd why she didn’t attend to which she said she just couldn’t stand by and watch . Then she said, mom, I’m a virgin, did you know that? So when is it my turn ? I told her it was a part of god’s plan and it would all be revealed in his time. I keep praying that she will find peace no matter the outcome

  • Baylee Brown

    This really hits home. Had a used to be “friend” decide they couldn’t be my friend anymore, it was extremely hurtful and not well handled. This is tough to this about praying for them because I don’t want them back in my life at all, nor do I like thinking about them. Growing is never easy though

  • Abby Wilson

    This Scripture has been challenging me for the past few months! So much happened and pain and hurt from close friends…I found myself bitter quick once everything settled and everything. A mentor of mine just suggested praying for them specifically-and forgiving them-and it’s amazing the difference in my heart towards them. Thank you Jesus for your Truth!

  • Praying for a friend who doesn’t know The Lord. I’ve recently been trying to shut this person out of my life because they have brought negative and cynical thoughts into my home/heart. Loving the lovable is so easy and shutting out the unlovable is even easier for me sometimes. Really praying for an open spirit and mind- for my friend and my self.

    • Rea

      I can really relate to this Brianna.. I have a friend who is lost as well and it would be so easy to do nothing about it, because she doesn’t seem to care much about it either. She is very cynical and negative as well, but we have to remember– there is not one life that God can’t save. He is more powerful than that. He wants them to know Him even more than we want them to know Him!

  • I would love to add these pictures to my lock screen after I read the devotion but I have an iPhone 5s and it doesn’t show the whole picture. It zooms in so much that you can’t read it all. Is there a smaller, more squeezed together image for iPhone users?

  • Praying for all of my ex roommates, my ex boyfriends, and my dad…

  • Taylor Townsend

    This devotional post hit home with me.. I’m 17 years old I’ve never met my biological father my mom married my step father when I was around the age of 5 and he adopted me and I took on his name. Years went by and around the time I was 12 my parents divorced and my dad eventually met another woman and once they got serious he was more worried about his life with her and what they could do rather than spend time and meet needs of his 3 daughters and they would always bash my mother . I eventually couldn’t take it anymore and I never returned that was around 2 and a half years ago I’ve called and tried fixing things but he wants to do everything his way and I wrote a letter but he told my younger sisters he want writing back. I know I have forgiven him for what he did but I don’t want that negativity back in my life every other weekend was miserable..

    • SheReadsTruth

      Hi, Taylor! So thankful for your heart and vulnerability. Praying for you as you pray for those who have hurt you. I love that our God didn\’t just leave us in a place of anger or pain-He longs to heal us! Asking that He would especially show you that today. Love to you!!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • Definately hit a nerve with this post…a lot to ponder on…thanks to the writer for being authentic in this post

  • Jaclynalysse

    Wow, this definitely made me look at this passage in a new light! Thanks for these words

  • Doing this :)

  • Wonda Hidalgo

    Sisters, I need prayer warriors! Facing hardships in my ministry, I believe in the plans He has for me, and I will forever trust His powerful hand! Thank you!

    • DT

      I’m praying for you! The Lord is faithful all the time. He has a plan for you and your ministry, remember that he can see the panoramic picture.. We can only see what’s in front of us!

  • Caroline North

    I had something happen this evening with someone who I thought was a friend. My first reaction was to get mad but then I knew I had to go back and reread this devotional. I am now going to pray for them even though I don’t want them back in my life.

    • Wonda Hidalgo

      Wow Caroline, what a Blessing to you! Learning is the best way to get closer to Jesus! Hope your heart is at peace!

  • "Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
    …Bless those who persecute you. Don't curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don't be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don't think you know it all!
    Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
    Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God." (Romans 12:10-11, 14-19 NLT)

    I stumbled across this passage as I was reflecting upon Ifi's comment here. I now realize, once again, that to do all that Jesus asks here, we must first and foremost do what verses 10-11 ask… to REALLY love each other. Not just brothers and sisters; it says OTHERS or one another, in other versions.

    The first step to truly loving my enemies, to truly LOVING and SEEING others as Christ sees them, is to pray for them. In the same token, when I truly pray for others, even those who are hurtful, I am doing it out of truly loving them as Christ does.

    Jesus, help me to truly LOVE everyone around me. Make me to see them as you do. Show me the people I need to stop pretending to love… show me who I need to really, truly love as You do. Forgive me for not loving these people as You do, in the way that You do– make me more like You in Your strength. Praise You, Jesus. Amen.

    • K.B.

      thank you for. i am struggling with people who have hurt me tremendously and made me lose someone who i love with all my heart. we were talking about getting married and then it went to we can't be together because of them. I've been trying lately to love them to do acts of love towards them so that they can see good in me, if not for the gaining of my loved one back but for my own closure.

  • Not what I wanted but what I needed.

    I am one that wants to make those who hurt me know how I hurt and to make them hurt in the same way. I want them to know that in their judging and gossiping that they didn't know the whole story. That they didn't know the reason I did what I did and that most of the time they are judging and gossiping about things that don't concern them anyway.  I DO NOT want to pray for them.

    This reminds me that it isn't my job to do any of that. It is Jesus's job. He will take care of it. Praying for our enemies helps us let go and turn all of the pain and hurt to Jesus and say "please help me forgive and move on."

    This also reminds me that I have been of the opposite side of the coin. I have judged and gossiped about things that don't concern me. I have judged when I didn't know the whole story or the motives. And most of all that I need to repent and ask for forgiveness from people I have hurt and forgiveness from Jesus for hurting one of his children.

  • Jan Powell

    As many times as I have read this, I always remember to pray for my enemies. But through your words, God has revealed to me how much I need to pray for my attitude towards and the way I approach people and situations involving the people around me that I do not necessarily "like" or get along with. As you said, I pray for my enemies but it's hard to acknowledge our own faults. Thank you for expressing yourself so that I can see myself.

  • Feshia Wilson

    This is the day the Lord has made I will rejoice and be glad in it.

  • Such a convicting message! To pray, really and earnestly pray, for my personal enemies is such a humbling act! Oh, how I need God to pour out His grace to remind me that a sin against my fellow man is ultimately a sin against Him, who made each of us in His image.

    It seems so much easier to hold the grudge and not forgive. But that is deceitful! The power that unforgiveness and bitterness has is crippling to our faith journey and destructive to our spiritual and emotional and even physical health. How much freedom we receive when we let go of the grip of unforgiveness!

    Father, I pray that You would heal mine and my sisters' broken and hurt hearts. Yet at the same time, would you make us always aware of the gravity of our own sin against You and yet You chose to love us and offer us a way of escape from such a life of sin and condemnation. Father, with this same grace and mercy You extend to us day after day, would You enable us to pour that grace and mercy into the lives of those around us, especially our enemies. We praise You for who You are – You are Love!

  • Feshia Wilson

    I love the Lord

    • Elizabeth

      Matthew 5:44 was one of the first verses I ever remember memorizing. But until today I never thought about it like this before. I am sure I have stuffed the memories of people that I need to pray for daily, because none come to mind. I am not saying I am perfect because I am not. I have my own issues. I just pray GOD will work in all of these issues and help me to become a better person! Praying for people daily that hurt me, is a challenge I gladly except!

  • Michelle

    I am grateful for this message today because it's the kick in then pants I need to get to work on a few things. There are a few relationships in my life that have been causing me discomfort, pain and stress. Avoiding "my people" isn't really an option and I've found that the tension from trying to suppress or ignore my grief in these situations has become too much of a burden for me to carry around. Strangely, I don't even know where to start here; am I praying for a softer heart, greater understanding, compassion and patience? The most selfish part of me wants to pray for them to change, but I'm guessing that's not where this needs to start. Just thinking about this is unsettling as I'm feeling like a pretty ugly part of me is under the spotlight right now. Thank you for this passage and this challenge.

  • Sarah @ Feeeding the Brain and Body

    It’s funny how a devotional can impact us all differently. What stood out while reading this for me was actually the message of the importance of prayer rather then the message on loving your enemies…which is exactly what I needed. I need to get to a point in my prayer life where I take delight in sharing moments with God. I would never have the reaction that praying for my enemies would ruin my prayer time because there isn’t anything to ruin for me. I need to work on this and I am so glad that I read this devotional to motivate me to do so.

  • I was thinking that praying for our enemies is starting the process of truly forgiving them. I was reminded upon reading this devotion of the Parable of the Unforgiving Debtor (in Matthew 18:21-35). At the very end it says, "That's what my heavenly Father will do if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters FROM YOUR HEART." It's not enough to chase away the thoughts of the person from our mind or the memory of what they did. We have to forgive them from our heart. We have to be able to honestly wish the person well. I pray that we can hold onto His promises of turning all things around for the Good and that we are More than Conquerors (not victims).

  • wiscogurl

    Good afternoon, sisters! Loving our enemies and those who persecute us reflects actions of a true child of God. Our weekly truth this week – Matthew 5:9 – also says "blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God." We should always extend the olive branch even when you do not get it in return. All of these messages are difficult but we are sharpening our skills for His ultimate plan and I want to be ready!

  • Michelle

    As I was reading this, I thought of two people… neither are full-blown enemies… just people who are in my head with some not-so-nice thoughts at times. And I really feel like this is a good challenge to me to begin to pray for them instead of judging them and keeping them as thorns-in-my-side. While writing in my journal in response to the message today I realized I was using the words "might" and "maybe" over and over. I was saying that praying for my enemies "might" change my heart…. or "maybe" the situation would change. WOW! What doubt was I experiencing right there. The biggest challenge for me has come in reflecting over my reflection. I need to fully commit to praying for them- regardless of the expected outcome… and give God the opportunity to work His will in the relationships and my heart. I need to trust that Christ spoke these words for the betterment of His kingdom… both in Heaven AND on earth. That by praying for my enemies my heart will change and my actions will follow and I can then be a daughter of Christ. Jesus… help me pray for those who cause me stress and grief. Help me trust that YOUR will is better for everyone involved- and your will WILL come to fruition.

  • Wow! Just wow!! I, like everyone else here, find this to be a hard pill to swallow. I’m working on my list (yes, I have more than one person that I need to pray for) and I honestly don’t know where to start. My first thought is, “I don’t like thinking of these people, let alone praying for them….” But as I write out my list, I put the “reasons” beside each name…. The more I let this sink in, the more I see that it most likely starts with “me.” I’m the one that needs to make some changes…. Eye opening for sure!!!! Thank you, Diana Stone, for this study and thanks to the commenters, too!! As hard as it is to swallow….it’s refreshing at the same time.

    If all you do is love the lovable….. Whoa!!!

  • Phyllis T.

    I love this passage in the Word because it's our reminder that God is calling on US to show the World HIM. As we know God is love and this passage reminds me of how God had to rebuke me for feeling ill towards some folks because of how I was being treated. I was ready to throw in the towel, to walk away from my positions and really give them a piece of my mind. What God did was give me a dream that I was standing before Him on Judgement Day and my feelins towards these people was my reason for not being able to get in. The statement God made to me was You should have been more concerned about Me than them. I was crushed. I went and apologize where I was instructed to and prayed where I was instructed to and God began to work on my behalf. That lesson was so powerful to me that when situations arised with people, my family especially, I would ask them could you stand before God and He accept what you're saying then fine with me BUT if not then why not began to pray and intercede on that persons behalf. I don't know what they're doing but I decided that I'm going to remain diligent in what I was instructed. I see the growth and am thankful for God's grace and mercy that cared enough to rebuke me.

    I still am not sure why God led me to this group but I know that all of the lessons in the Sermon on the Mount are relational messages to how God wants us to be. We are if we truly desire growth have to be willing to submit our will to the Will of God to be the Light that shines brightly. Please don't think for one moment that my life doesn't have troubles and /or that I'm perfect. That is so not the case, I just want God so bad I'm willing to do the hard things to show God how serious and appreciative I am for the chance to get it right.

    I pray for the She Reads Truth team and for all of my Sisters in Christ that are on this journey with me, that we will pray and lift one another up so that we grow in wisdom, truth and love daily. Thanks so much for this wonderful inspiring Devotional today!!!!

  • Megan Casteel

    Wow. I have been dreading this passage as much as I have been longing to hear it. I have been in limbo recently with my mother's new husband who is an alcoholic and very verbally and mentally abusive to her. He had us all fooled when she married him after only a couple of months and then he revealed his true colors. After being swept up in his toxic mess, taking in my mom for a night here and a night there when she would leave him only to go right back the next day, I finally reached a breaking point. I decided that I could no longer allow him in my life or my children's lives. My mom is welcome to see us any time she likes, but my children and I will not come to their house or see her husband at all UNLESS and UNTIL he actually tries to change (i.e. AA meetings, counselling, getting in church, ect.). This was a hard decision, because I am a very quiet, non-confrontational, doormat type person. I don't like to make anyone mad or upset with me. But I am working on boundaries in my life and I knew I had to draw a line when his behavior was effecting me and my kids. So for the past few months I've been really struggling with 'Did I make the right choice? Didn't Jesus say to love your neighbor? Does that mean I have to allow him into my life?' I was so relieved to realize that I can pray for him without allowing him back in to wreak havoc on my family. It will still be hard, but I don't want to carry hatred and resentment and anger anymore. So thank you for helping me understand more what Jesus really expects of me…

  • I am so grateful for the sharing of Gods word on this siteSRT. always timely as it is again today. As I have been praying for a change in my attitude over decisions made that I thought were selfish the verse that comes to mind is
    For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (‭Ephesians‬ ‭6‬:‭12‬ NIV)
    This always helps me not take offences so personally. It really is a battle we all face on some level most of the time. But we have Jesus who ever lives to intercede on our behalf. Amazing to me.

  • Well being blessed with the ability to forgive very easily, there are not a whole lot of people on my list. However, the one who always comes to mind is my Daughter’s father. And not because hes done anything to me per say, but more because he is not there for her. I see her hurt and it hurts me. So very often I do kneel down and I do pray nothing but good things for him. It isnt always easy and sometimes I still get angry and hurt thinking what hes missing out on not knowing our amazing 14 year old beautiful good hearted daughter. Even if he cant get past not liking me, how could you not want to spend all of your time with her? I still pray for him. I pray that he finds God most of all.

  • Michelle Wigand

    Two people came to mind right away. One, a testimony to the Lords strong hand of protection and the other still present and still painful. I resisted praying for the first. "avoid it" my heart and mind said. The Lord to change my heart. One Sunday I couldn't avoid praying over this anymore. At first my prayer where like angry gun spray and over time I felt The Lord direct me to specific prayers. Then God did answered my cry. I feel so protected by him. Thank you for hearing me God and for hiding me in your strong hand of protection. I'd say that the first person is a good testimony for YOU but it's really a good testimony for ME. To enter in to prayer allowing a change of heart.

    • AnnaLee

      Beautiful, Michelle. Your testimony of how the Lord has shown you His wonderful favor and given you protection from the ones who've hurt you really encourages me to seek the Lord out with those places and with those people I have insecurity in/about. Father, heal me in the places I never truly thought you ever could heal me in. As you've changed Michelle, change my heart and mind as I seek you in prayer, Jesus. I praise You, for You have healed and redeemed us in beautiful ways, Lord– May Your name be praised in all the heavens as we continue in being healed by You. Amen! Be blessed, Michelle. May the Lord continue to heal you and show you just how preciously you are kept in the palm of His mighty, loving hand. I love you! Have a good evening.

  • Sarah Martin

    I love this reminder. I have done this in the past and found that when I pray for someone that would be considered my "enemy" or someone that I am jealous of, the Holy Spirit moves in me so that I start to see this person in a new light. My heart softens and my attitude changes. Isn't God so good?!

  • This is an area I have been struggling with for years. I work full time at a church and there are people who I do not feel comfortable with. They are hard for me to minister to and serve, yet is must. I am called to love the unlovely (those who I feel are unlovely to me or my husband or my children). God has placed them in my path for a reason. It is not easy but I have seen how God has softened my heart and I am able to understand more of their situation. They may not be the people I would choose to go out with, but they are God's just as much as I am and I need to pray for them, serve them and love them. This continues to be a daily prayer for me and it is encouraging to know I am not alone, especially when there are time I feel I am, and no one else is having to pray the same prayers.

  • Dangit, Diana. You know something? I read this last night when it came up on the site. And then I closed it without doing any of my usual writing/praying etc. I just couldn't. Mainly, I didn't want to. I hate this topic. Forgiving is probably the top issue I struggle with. It's plagued me for YEARS.

    I've always read scripture (and especially that one in particular) indirectly, so to speak. Like it can affect/does affect someone else. Why should it affect me? I don't have any enemies! This isn't about me, so why should I apply it?

    Gah. I love/hate it when God smacks me upside the head with this kind of lesson. Love it because it's something I need to read/hear for myself. Hate because now I have to put it in action.

    There are definitely a few people I can think of that I need to pray for in my own life. And I don't want to, because of most of the reasons you listed (and mine has to do with family, so I have no choice but to let them in my life. And I always return bitter and frustrated and hurt and sad). I know prayer is for me, for healing and all that jazz, but saying it and believing it are two different things.

    I saw this on fb this morning, and thought it was appropriate: "But I have come to realize when prayer seems the most unrealistic, that's when I need it the most." ~Leslie Ludy

    I guess I need to work on loving the unlovable in my life. Sigh. Where on earth do I start? Thanks for opening up a can of worms this morning, Diana. ;) At least you got me thinking.

    happy tuesday, friends!

    • Sarah Martin

      I totally agree with you on that "can of worms" that was opened here. LOL. Just like the reasons that Diana mentioned, sometimes I just don't want to go there in my head and think about a particular person or situation. I'm trusting God with this right now and diving into some prayer!

    • Kaitlin

      This definitely is a hard place for me too, Jordan! I so want to avoid this when confronted. But I'm thankful that by pushing through the hurt, we find unspeakable joy and healing. It's not a path I would have chosen, but the gain is so much more than I could have imagined-isn't God incredible in that way?! Praise! Love to you today!

      xo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

    • Phyllis T.

      Jordan,,

      I have a family member like that and at every family function without fail they say the wrong thing, hurt someone's feelings or after the event they talk to others and it's put on social media so it festers. Continue to pray for them because God loves them just like He loves us and some work can only be done through prayer and faith. My situation hasn't improved yet but the enemy is on notice I believe that before it's all said and done God is going to do a great work and reconcile that soul back to Him not just for their sake but for that of their child as well.

      Be Blessed and keep praying.

  • I have a friend who is not necessarily an enemy, but someone who is an alcoholic currently at the lowest point of his life. He has alienated all family and friends and yet I don't think of him as an enemy but I don't have anything good to say about him. He is God's child, too, as am I. He has rejected all offers of help from many people in his life. This has been on my mind lately and yes, I should pray for him and will do so now with more intent. I've been avoiding intentional prayer for him, not sure why. Perhaps God knew this was today's verse and I would see it from this perspective. Thank you for today's message and may we all pray for those in our lives that are not easy to love. Sheila

  • This whole post is great. To sit and think about why you didn't pray for your enemies-those are definitely some of the things I would have come up with. But you know what really hit me? Right at the end yall had The Message Bible's version of Matthew 5:46. I normally turn to the MSG bible when I'm reading scripture that's hard to interpret-they make it so easy guys! But this verse, obvs, is not hard to interpret. But then God breaks it down even more "If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that." I LOVE this because that's how I talk-it's almost sarcastic! Love God, Love People. I always think I have that part down-boom, I love people. But then God's like, oh you think you're special because you love lovable people? Anyone can do that….

    Man ladies, that hit me. ANYBODY can love the sweet, compassionate person that seems like they have it all together. It's hard for me to love the not so sweet, the not so compassionate people. Like….real hard…

    • Kaitlin

      I love the almost sarcastic tone in the message version, too! It's a very much needed kick in the pants for me! What a great God we serve, who sees our hurt and doesn't want to leave us there. Thankful for your heart, Amy!

      xo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • leenda324

    So hard to do but when done in obedience and faithfully it literally is life-changing. Amen!

  • My my my my my…..I have some praying to do! Not only did the Lord convict, but blessed me through this study. Praying for family members who’ve hurt you is tricky, especially if it’s your parent. I was just seeking the Lord about this topic yesterday. I’ve been torn about what to do and low and behold Matthew 5:38-48 just laid out a blueprint for me to follow. For me, I was hoping for the parent to apologize, but it doesn’t appear this will happen. So instead of holding on to fantasy, it’s high time I pray about the act that hurt me and let it go. I learned forgiveness and prayer isn’t always for the other person, but for me. One thing that convicts me is that the one person who brought me in this world, I dislike her response to the spirit that richly dwells in me. I understand we do not fight against flesh and blood, but against principalities or (personalities). One thing I must be mindful about in Matthew 5 is not becoming a person who percutes others in my own haste of disdain for others. Thank you for sharing your soul this morning to bless me. God has a plan for my life, plans to prosper and not to hurt, plans for a hope and a future if I can adopt the lifestyle of praying for others who hurt me verses not praying for them at all. My praying for others who percute me does not mean entrance back into my life. This means I’m letting go and letting God have his way in me and these individuals!!

    • Shellie

      I may have accidentally hit the thumbs down button, but I meant to hit the thumbs up! I can totally relate to your comment. I feel like you spoke right from MY. Heart!

  • OUCH!! This stepped all over my prideful, selfish little toes! Looks like I've got some praying (and repenting) to do…
    Beckey http://www.etsy.com/shop/queenbsbusywork

  • joanne sher

    Prayer helps us heal from resentment, bitterness, and anger. Do I ever need that! When I am wronged, prayer is my last instinct – but should be my first action. Help me, Lord!

  • Yet again the daily post reiterates what God is telling me personally! Each day I am astounded by the love God has for me. In His desire for me to live free of hurts and the things that bring pain, He finds so many ways of reaching me to give me the tools/words I need to heal. It's as simple as further conversation with someone I love for someone He loves! In a strange way, it makes me think of the old saying, "Living well is the best revenge." Perhaps it's more *praying* well FOR them is the best "revenge". Wouldn't it be wonderful if God, who has changed my life so greatly, changes the lives of those who've hurt you. Wouldn't it be bittersweet to know they've met Jesus and have become more your brother/sister in Christ, than your enemy…even if at a distance!!!!

  • Victoria

    “…for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45b). God does the same for everyone, even the ones that hate Him and speak nasty things against Him everyday, because He still loves them nonetheless. If God still faces those who hurt Him on a daily basis and still provides for their needs, we can simply pray for those that hurt us. It is sooo hard to do, but the thing is, we’re called and told to do so.

    As I read this today, I kept asking God what am I supposed to get out of this, why today and then it hit me, the one person… my ex. I basically woke up cursing him because I had yet another bad dream where he was the headliner. I realized that I’m still holding onto all the pain and hurt that he caused me and the only way I can truly finally heal after 2 years is if I begin to pray for him. This is going to be so hard for me but it’s the only way I can truly heal.

    Ladies, I pray that we all find the strength to pray for those that have hurt us deeply so that we may all experience His perfect healing.

    • Mariah

      Wow. I pray for your strength to do this, for I know it is not easy. May God grant you strength and keep you ever close to him.
      God bless you, sister.

    • Onfaith

      You're so on point! Thank you for sharing! I'll be praying for you as you move forward in this! ~ B

  • Diana, you hit the nail right on the head here! Personally, this is one of the hardest things in my Christian walk – to pray for those who have wronged you. Often, when someone 'slaps me on my right cheek', I 'slap them' right back! If someone does something to me, and hurts me personally, my tendency is to think, "I will find someway to make him/her feel how I feel right now." To actually pray with a forgiving heart toward someone is really hard. But, you know what? It is needful! Unforgiveness makes room for bitterness, but when we actually step back and think, "Yes, that person wronged me, but, just as Christ forgave me from all my sins, I can forgive that person too."
    Dear Lord, help us all to keep our minds fixed on you. Help us to forgive our enemies. Help us to love our enemies. And help us to not harbor bitterness toward those who wrong us, but instead forgive them and pray for them. In Christ name, Amen.

  • Oh my. I had my person as soon as I read today’s scripture. I hate praying for her because it opens wounds and anger. Just the other day I had to forgive her all over again, because I am still letting go of my pain and anger (tough to do when it’s your own mother).

    I need to do this. I need to get my heart right with God, I need to set an example of the reality of forgiveness for my children, I need to allow my heart to be healed.

    One little scripture… So much depth.

    • Kaitlin

      So much depth! This scripture reaches parts of my heart I usually ignore because of hurt. But when I realize God sees the hurt and wants to push me to healing, I fall on my face in praise! Praying for healing and strength, sister!

      xo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • My goodness Nicole that’s rich to be a Peacemaker in our painmakers life. Because at some point we have hurt others too maybe unintentionally or before we knew better. I’m so glad someone prayed for me. Have a blessed day in The Lord ladies, talk to you tomorrow.

  • Well….this was a tough one. Praying for and even forgiving my enemies has been a tough one for me. I don't want to think about them–at all! It hurts and I don't want those memories to come flooding back in, ruining my alone time with God. I'm realizing now though, that although I don't pray for them, God sees them in my thoughts and has been nudging me all this time to bring it to Him, and lay it down at the cross.

    I hear this song ALL the time, "Losing" by Tenth Avenue North.

    Oh, Father won't You forgive them?
    They don't know what they've been doin' (oh no)
    Oh, Father, give me grace to forgive them
    'Cause I feel like the one losin'

    Well it's only the dead that can live
    But still I wrestle with this
    To lose the pain that's mine
    Seventy times seven times
    'Cause Lord it doesn't feel right
    For me to turn a blind eye
    Though I guess it's not that much
    When I think of what You've done.

    It convicts me every. time. Diana writes that praying and forgiving our enemies doesn't make us a doormat for Jesus.. It's to heal US. I need my heart healed from the situation and enemies that hurt me. I pray God helps me finally give the burden to him!

    • DDiab

      I have heard that song many times, but hadn't paid attention to the lyrics closely enough. Thank you for putting it in to perspective!

    • Stephanie Rawcliffe Photography

      You, too, hit the nail on the head. I have the same feelings about it "…ruining my alone time with God." I find myself feeling like I have "more important" stuff to raise up to Him. But you're so right, the Holy Spirit continues to nudge me! Praying for you.

  • "In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another" 1 John 4:10-11. Enemies or not, if we follow our Lord's example, then we will pray, and love, and act on it. He's given us the Holy Spirit to stand right beside us and pray with us. Let's do it and be victorious.

  • Amen. What do you gain by loving only those who love you? Nothing. After all everyone can do that. Sounds harsh, but true. Accept truth and apply it. Absolutely wonderful. In this day and age it has become an accomplishment to have an enemy. Everyone has "haters". Instead of bickering at each other, Lord I pray that you will put it in their hearts to pray for each other and draw closer to you.

    Amen.

    • Kaitlin

      So true, Kimone! I love what you said about gaining from loving those who don't love you. Love your heart!

      xo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • I've heard it said, "The number of people you can help is the same number of eople you can hurt."

    However, in light of today's passage, a converse statement (of sorts) is also true: The same people who have hurt you can also be helped by you.

    We actually do think of a similar principle but usually in light of taking our "mess" and making it our message, using our pain for God's gain–so that other people don't have to go through what we did or go through it alone. However, we don't usually think about using our pain to help those who inflicted the pain on us.

    How can we turn OUR hurts into a source of help for the people who have hurt us, who have been painmakers? Maybe the best way to help our painmakers is to be a PEACEmaker on their behalf, to make peace with God over their hurting me and pray that they themselves turn to God for healing.

    Now I need to write out my own pain-maker prayer list…

    • Kaitlin

      I love this mentality, Nicole! Our pain for God's gain. So against what society tells us, but heals parts of my heart buried in hurt! Thank you for sharing, sister!

      xo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • "Because I don't want let them back into my life." That's where I get stuck. I want to forgive but I don't want to reconcile with that person. I am forced to interact with them, but I definitely keep my defenses up. Maybe it all goes back to trusting God to be a balm for the pain. I have lots to think about, still.

    • LaurieEW

      I'm so with you on that one. I find it kind of easy to forgive and forget, but forget is what I want to do. I want to forget it happened, to forget that they ever existed. And sometimes they do disappear from my life for years even, but the one day out of nowhere, there they are and all that junk is back in my life. I need to really practice this Beattitude.

      • Katie

        Sometimes I feel like if I forgive them for what they've done I automatically let them back into my life. So because of that I just forget about it all together and block it out. My best friend of six years betrayed me and recently wanted to come back into my life. I could see that she hadn't changed much. She was still very manipulative and didn't seem very genuine. More like she had lost everybody she loved because she is an evil person. Sometimes I Feel like I should forgive her but I don't want to let her back into my life and I'm afraid if I forgive her I'm saying it's okay what she did to me. I guess Ii should remember all of the times I betrayed God and he still forgave me. I still care about her I just can't be her friend again

    • Kaitlin

      I can so relate to this hurting place, Joanne. My tendency is to build fences and boundaries. But Lord, don't let my fences block the road to healing! I'm thankful that God's plan surpasses any human reasoning we may have, and that He leads to places of unspeakable joy. Thankful for your heart, sister!

      xo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

    • Gail

      "I am forced to interact with them, but I definitely keep my defenses up." That so describes how I feel with this person. What's more, deep down I know that it is my problem to deal with – I'm fairly sure they have no idea of how wary I am of them. It is easier to just ignore the situation than to think – let alone pray- about it!

      First time commenting here. I have been doing various of the studies (really enjoyed Daniel) and love the wisdom and insight that I have found in both the studies and the comments. Thank you all.

  • Good morning, Sisters…
    Two things popped into my head when I read this…..1).there are 2 sides to every story, ….2) freedom….

    Let me try to unpack these thoughts….there are two sides to every story…..in fact more sides, if more people are involved….to make an enemy/ enemies, you first have, to have been involved with that person/s in some way….directly, you probably loved them, once, a friendship, knew them through someone…a connection.. or indirectly family feud, not so connected, someone else's died, an going war between two countries…….. it would be foolish to called someone you have never met or known or had any dealings with in any shape or form an enemy…….So there will always be two sides to a story…simply because the feelings we feel( dislike, hate, whatever negative feeling going on inside) will be a direct result of having had some good thought or feelings towards this person/s we now are calling our 'enemy' …..I don't believe we wake up and say to ourselves….'I'm going to fall out with….' something happens to make our hearts shift, to make our minds change from thinking about this person as friend to foe…….I believe, and I'm writing as my mind is telling me, that whatever happened, whatever went down, whatever went wrong, resulted because the one or both parties were' not fully present' ( stealing from Ilyana Vanzant) at the time the offence took place….two sides to every story….even the Jonah story Candace related, there was God's story and there was Jonah's….God had a plan, Jonah had a plan….they did not match up….Jonah was not singing from God's hymn sheet….He had his own sheet!!!!! And therein lies the discord…
    So, Luke 5:43-says 'You have heard it said, Love your friends….( those who agree with you, those with whom you see eye to eye, those who speak YOUR truth), hate your enemies….those who have hurt you, those who have harmed you, those with whom there has been a disagreement, those who do not speak YOUR truth)….paraphrasing ….But JESUS says in verse 43…'But now I tell you …Love your enemies and pray for three who persecute you, …..(there is a reward far greater than the feeling of having an enemy….45, says so that we may become children of our Father in Heaven…Amen)…A tough one, but I would rather the reward….any day….Lord, I come before you now, 'fully present' to say, if there is any anger in my heart, any discord, any hurt from experiences long gone, but not forgotten, show me now that I might pray it through, that I might lay it down once and for all…Thank you Lord God…Thank you for this opportunity to get right with you and within me…Thank you Lord…
    ……And with that….praying for our enemies, those that persecute us, comes the FREEDOM knowing that God has our 'issue, our hurt, our 'enemies' in hand….we should be FREE to be the people we are called to be, in love, fully present, and whole heartedly living for the Lord….

    Remember, verse 45 says…'For he makes the sun to shine on bad and good people alike…and gives rain to those who do good and those who do evil.'……Your enemies life goes on, he/she has sunshine, on your cloudy day, .and his/ her crops are blooming, growing because he has rain….yours may be at a stand still…..pray for them…..pray for them …pray for them…..and BE FREE to live as God intends you to….

    I've gone on tooooo long….sorry…so much to say today…I may carry on on my blog page…..

    Sister's, praying God's amazing grace, love and peace over you all….. in the healing name of Jesus….Amen….xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    • Nicole

      Tina, thank you so much for your words of wisdom! I've said many times that there is another side to each story, but I needed to hear it in this context.

    • Onfaith

      Thank you for this Tina! Your words have brought further conviction to me. "Your enemies life goes on….." I am acutely aware of this, and have a life that seems to wain between moving forward and standing still. I pray….but not a oft as I should. It is a must! Thanks! ~ B

    • AnnaLee

      "……And with that….praying for our enemies, those that persecute us, comes the FREEDOM knowing that God has our 'issue, our hurt, our 'enemies' in hand….we should be FREE to be the people we are called to be, in love, fully present, and whole heartedly living for the Lord….

      Remember, verse 45 says…'For he makes the sun to shine on bad and good people alike…and gives rain to those who do good and those who do evil.'……Your enemies life goes on, he/she has sunshine, on your cloudy day, .and his/ her crops are blooming, growing because he has rain….yours may be at a stand still…..pray for them…..pray for them …pray for them…..and BE FREE to live as God intends you to…."

      I'm really bitter. I'm really full of resentment. I didn't realize it until reading this. That it hurts to think that those who don't know the Lord or care for walking with Him as I do, those whom the Lord has called me to leave behind, still have each other– and that I have 'no one' (A LIE, I know, but one I too often believe). ALL OF THAT IS A LIE. The Lord has promised me that my better days are ahead… That leaving them was an ENORMOUS blessing!!!! He's promised all of us this… He's been faithful to me this ENTIRE time, no matter how disgusting, rebellious or unfaithful I've been… that He will bless me, that He has made my life a place where many crops will grow, much harvest will be produced, and many beautiful, intimate, meaningful, amazing God-honoring friendships will be made and will flourish. Father, forgive me for believing so many horrible, hurtful lies! I am not defined as 'the loser,' 'crazy,' or as 'that Jesus freak' (said in a derogatory manner, not by others, but by myself as I go out into the world.) I need to live FREE… BOLD… UNAFRAID. Praise God for you, Tina. I thank you for this insight, for typing out the words the Lord has called you to write… because I needed to hear it. Amen. May the Lord bless you, as He shows you the parts within you holding onto any bitterness or resentment… and He help you to put down every burden, break every chain, and abolish every lie you may have been believing, even subconsciously. Be blessed this week, dear sister. Love you.

  • Rocio Torres

    My thought on this.. I think this passage can be used not only on our enemies but the people we communicate daily. Not only do we get persecuted by “enemies” but by our own family and friends! It’s a little more harder for me to pray for a relationship that I kind of expect for it to be perfect.. this passage helps a lot. I should be praying not only for the person on the other side of the relationship but for myself! I want to be the kind of person that if someone slaps me in the face I will gladly (with NO pride ) put my other cheek.

    • Kaitlin

      Rocio, such a good point! I think my closest relationships are so easily overlooked because I expect my love to flow easily. Thank you for joining us today!

      xo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

    • AnnaLee

      Amen, Rocio! "It's a little more harder for me to pray for a relationship that I kind of expect for it to be perfect.. this passage helps a lot." I used this passage a lot today as I dealt with my sister– who is sometimes demanding (but I'm no better– I'm just as angry, but more passive).
      I need to pray for forgiveness and for the help to forgive those people in my own family and close friend-circles that hurt me without knowing it. It can be so much easier to hurt people who are close to you… Lord, help me to be a servant to my family, being very sensitive to how I treat them. Praise God for you, Rocio. Thank you for your insight. Be blessed. May the Lord help you to bless those in your personal life who've hurt you– may He make us all more sensitive to those in our lives. Have a beautiful night!

  • Sometimes I skip over this passage because it’s not something I’m ready for–I’m not ready to pray for someone who abused me, who lied about what they did, and who doesn’t have to live with what they’ve done in the same way that I will always have to. But reading it again, I’m not being called to welcome them back into my life with open arms and say nothing happened, everything’s fine. I’m learning to pray for the person that hurt me, that their life may be made whole, that they will work towards better things. I pray for change because I don’t want another person to bear the same burden I’m carrying. For all their life no longer touches mine, it touches the lives of many others. When I pray for change, it isn’t because I necessarily want to welcome them back into my life, but instead because I know many other people will welcome this person into theirs. Jesus isn’t asking me to just drop what has hurt me, but to think about it in ways that might make me uncomfortable, but that will ultimately help me, and others, much more than simply forgetting.

    • Abby

      Thank you for your comments, Taylor! I couldn't agree more. I'm sitting here thinking about why I don't pray for the three people that come to mind…and it's because it brings up uncomfortable feelings of pain, hurt, regret, and shame. I don't want to relive that part of my life! But…prayer is so powerful. God can heal me and them through it. God tells us to pray for our enemies and all the while He wants only good for us…I need to be obedient! I am going to pray to see them through God's eyes.

    • Kaitlin

      Taylor, this is beautiful. Our God is such an incredible redeemer, isn't He? To think that He would have me walk through my hurt only to come out on the other side more trusting, more loving and more joyful is incomprehensible, but He does it. Praise!! Thank you for sharing your heart with us!

      xo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

    • AnnaLee

      Praise the Lord for you, Taylor. Your words… they cut to the core, they resonate. Thank you for being honest, for being the beautiful woman God has made you to be, and for being The Lord's voice of redemption and strength.

      "I pray for change because I don't want another person to bear the same burden I'm carrying. For all their life no longer touches mine, it touches the lives of many others. When I pray for change, it isn't because I necessarily want to welcome them back into my life, but instead because I know many other people will welcome this person into theirs." Yes. Seeing it this way… that their lives go on, with many other lives… it shows me the importance of praying for those, even far off in my past.

      Because ultimately, it's not about me. It's not about us. The Lord has redeemed and is slowly sanctifying and healing us as we look to Him. But them? They may still not know Christ, and they are in danger of causing more pain and of being in more pain than they have been. How could I wish that upon society? Upon not only those who've hurt me, but upon the people who are in their lives now? Thank you, Taylor. For speaking the words I needed to hear. God bless you abundantly, Sister. Love you. May the Lord continue to heal you and form you into the beautiful, bold, honest, wonderful woman you are in Him. May your testimony and heart be shared with others, that they may find the Healing, Redeeming Love of Christ as you have. Have a wonderful night, friend.

    • CarrieLynne31

      Wow! What a way to put it, Taylor! I am guilty of not wanting to pray for those who have hurt me as well. But it isn't about me. It's about so much more! Thank you for sharing! Blessings, Carrie

    • Guest

      This is a beautiful way of looking at an ugly situation. I just prayed for continued healing for you–your heart is ready.

    • Kim

      I’ve never thought about this passage in a sense of the other people who could be impacted by my “enemies.” But, you make an awesome point to keep this in mind. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Candacejo

    Anybody can do that….ouch. Diana, you have bared your soul and caused us all to look at our own!

    This makes me think of Jonah…he did NOT want to tell the people of Nineveh to repent or God would destroy them. Why? Because he sincerely did not LIKE those people! He finally gives in and goes to Nineveh, preaches what God tells him to preach. The people actually receive it, believe it, and repent! The entire city and its king! But Jonah is upset, he is downright mad about their conversion! It was a wicked city, the Assyrians were bent on world domination, they didn’t care who got in their way. They even sacrificed their children and served the idol Dagon!

    “So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.” Jonah 4:1-3 NLT.

    He is pretty much saying, "I knew you would do that Lord, but I would rather be dead than see those people saved."

    Wow! Ouch! Yikes! He was upset that these people that he literally despised were going to receive the forgiveness of God…just like he had.

    Just like he had. Aren't we like Jonah sometimes? Like Diana mentioned today? We actually want to see them continue in their sinful life, they are deserving of judgment! We might not come out and say it but we "FEEL" it inside.

    The Lord knows that when we pray for our enemies, sincerely desire for them to come to repentance, it might not even change THEM. But it will go a long, long way in our own restoration. It WILL change our HEART!

    What a great eye-opening lesson today from Diana. I have my "person" to pray for…better get busy! ♥

    • Ifi

      Thank you so much for this, Candacejo! Great contrast with the story of Jonah – it’s funny but a couple of days ago I was actually going over Jonah’s story again and reminding myself of how we sometimes feel so entitled to God’s forgiveness and love that we almost become a bit territorial with it. It reminds me of a book I read called ‘The Shack’…I forget who wrote it but it follows a man whose young daughter was kidnapped and murdered. He prays for God to judge the murderer and then God presents him with a dilemma – if both your kids were in real danger, pick one that you would save and condemn the other one to death. He wrestles with this and finally admits that he couldn’t, he loves them both the same, he’d rather die himself than condemn any of them to death. Jesus then says to him, well that murderer is my child too…I would rather die than condemn him to death.
      It’s tough, really tough to forgive enemies…especially personal ones. But maybe praying for them helps us see them through God’s eyes, rather than our own. And that is what makes the difference! Thanks again for sharing your insight on this, Candacejo! xx

      • AnnaLee

        Amen, Ifi. I heard about that book a couple of years ago, and from what I heard it was an amazing read. "That murderer is my child too…" "that [troubled-girl-who-reached-out-to-me-but-hurt-you] is my child too…" you could fill in the blank with anything. Especially within the church, especially in relationships where those people have loved and hurt you so deeply… we cannot forget that even if there's no chance of full reconciliation, we belong to each other in Christ (Romans 12:5). When I see my ex-boyfriend or an old friend, whom I hurt and whom hurt me much, through the eyes of God– that he and she are my brother and sister, that he/she belongs to me and I to him/her (in the purest, most non-romantic, Christ-centered way possible)… how can I hate them? It's like hating and hurting myself. Lord, give us the grace to love the other parts of your body, EVERY part… to love the people who, though we may not like it in our flesh, belong to us, people we need to cherish and honor no matter the hurt. Reconcile us according to YOUR will, not ours. In your name I pray, Amen. Praise God for this, Ifi. Thank you.

    • DMR

      Amen this was so amazing and really helped me open my eyes to this I am guilty of this way of thinking occasionally in my life!

    • Steph_Lilac

      Wooooooow!! This is a great accompaniment to the devotion! I too love how transparent Diana was it definitely encouraged us to be the same way. I need to sincerely pray for those who have offended me. I feel like I gloss over them in prayer and it's not genuine. I have my names that I will be presenting before the Lord. I pray your strength in the Lord, please pray mine.

      • jen

        Wow, please pray with me for my enemies. My former landlord evicted me through dishonest conduct then continued by stalking me and sending her cohorts to do damage in my home. She is so evil that I wrote a review about her. Needless to say they dump urine mixed with fabric softener in my truck, follow me even out of state. I lost 2 dogs by deliberate evil deeds. Her name is Kelly, husband John, son Josh and Jesse and Erin my former landlord that started all of this. Thank u for joining me in prayer. Justice can bring repentance because of their pride and haughty spirits…Jen

    • Liz

      This is what first came to mind for me too, Jonah. Confession….I don't pray for those people in my life because I don't want things to go well for them. Thanks for naming it

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