“Pray for those who persecute you.” Pray for them.
Have you ever tried praying for someone who has hurt you deeply? It sounds so easy . . . all you have to do is say a little prayer and, “Voila!”—all is well. In baring my soul, it has never been easy for me.
Sure, say something bad about me—I can typically let it go. Disagree on an issue that’s close to my heart—no big deal. Decide that we just don’t have much in common any more—I’m typically fine to go my separate way.
But, not in this case. There is a person in my life that I would never call an enemy. For some reason, that word seems so final to me . . . so unchangeable. And, of all the advice I’ve sought to mend the ties, to re-establish a relationship, the common denominator in the advice from others was simply: pray for this person.
So, I have. Yet, there is still a clenched fist in the depths of my heart clinging to the pain that’s been inflicted by this person. I’ve allowed myself to be hurt more by this “enemy” than any other person in my life. Some days the only way I can describe the depth of the pain is like having an anvil tied to the center of my heart, pulling downward and causing a feeling of being crushed from within . . . a very physical crushing.
I want to love the person, but there is a part of me so embittered by the situation, that I want to hate the person, too. I want to hate this child of God. And therein lies my problem. I’m praying, yet I’m only uttering words from my lips as my heart speaks a completely different language. I am not getting it.
God loves this person. Loves His child even when that very child has hurt me. And, I have to be okay with that. More than that, I have to hope for that. Even more, I have to pray for that. Because, what good is a word spoken if it is in utter opposition to the echoes of my heart.
I must love this person I’ve been afraid to call an enemy. And, I have a feeling I know how my heart will finally bend toward my will to love the one who has persecuted me . . . by praying. Praying for my enemy—their healing, their sufferings, their pain. In the end, praying for their good, even if the persecution never ends. Why? Because that is where loving an enemy begins, and He doesn’t simply ask for our prayers. He demands them.
Is there someone in your life who is persecuting you/someone who has caused you great pain? Try to spend five to ten minutes today deeply praying for that person’s well being.
Britt Fisk is the wife of Jeremy and mother of five young kids. She spends her days living simply in the-middle-of-nowhere-New Mexico helping with the family beef cattle operation. You can find out more about her here.