Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. Matthew 5.44
I learned this morning that my uncle has "a mass" (those dreaded words) in his stomach. It is to early to know what his future is. We know nothing yet about possible treatments or prognoses. Yet in the midst of this uncertainty, I found it easy to pray for Uncle George. I am sure that I will continue to find it easy to petition God for his health and healing. However, I have not found it so easy to pray for some others.
Jesus addresses that concern, that problem, in the Sermon on the Mount. If ever we thought following Jesus was simple, this simple statement changes that. There are no qualifiers, Jesus tells those who would follow him that they are to love, bless, do good and to pray for those who are our enemies. We are to pray for those we love, and those that we do not love.
Two things happen when we follow this rule. First of all, God answers our prayer and the attitudes and actions of those who treat us unfairly are changed. Those who curse, abuse and persecute us will stop doing those things when God intervenes. Secondly, we will grow to love all people when we pray for them. Our attitudes toward those who treat us badly will change when we pray for them. So do not be selective in your prayers. Pray for those you love, but also pray for those that you do not.
PRAYER: I have a hard time loving and praying for everyone, Lord. I need your help. Give me a loving heart, a caring spirit and a generous mind so that I can lift up the needs of all who hurt me. Bless those who take me for granted. Encourage those who ignore me. Care for those who ridicule and persecute me. Love those who abuse me. Amen.