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Praying for Your Enemies

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.  Matthew 5: 44 ESV

I once worked in college ministry.

In the days when computers took up a whole room and cell phones did not exist, one of our main methods of spreading the word about meetings and activities entailed hanging posters all over campus.

But one year, two weeks into the fall quarter, I noticed those posters seemed to disappear as fast as I hung them. The next week, I discovered the cause—rather, the remover. He followed me all over campus, tearing down every poster as soon as I hung it. I sat and waited to see if he would grow tired of the game. He sat and waited with me and resumed his destruction as soon as I resumed hanging the posters. After removing them, he tore them up.

Discouraged, I reported my perceived failure to my supervisor. He listened to my tale of woe, and we prayed together. After praying, my supervisor’s advice was simply, “Make friends with him and keep praying for him.”

I prayed and showed up at the same time the following week. The destroyer awaited me. As he followed me from one bulletin board to another, I asked him neutral questions to get to know him. He did not speak. I prayed more.

The next week, we met again. I asked questions again. After finishing, I sat and opened my backpack to eat lunch. I had made enough for two and offered him a sandwich, a juice container, and a bag of cookies. That opened the door to conversation and his eventual journey to faith in Jesus.

God asks us to love, pray for, and feed our enemies. Jesus showed us how. He fed five thousand, prayed for His followers, and offered the ultimate gift of love by dying on the cross.

Who do you find is acting like an enemy or taking the role of persecutor in your life? Can you begin by praying for them? How might you demonstrate care for them and open a dialogue?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

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Laurie Herlich

Laurie Herlich followed the Lord’s leading across the country to the promised land of Northeast Tennessee. There she writes cozy mysteries and devotions in a converted garden hut situated in her back yard.