My baby was three months old. I was sitting in the recliner feeding him a bottle and praying over him – praying for his future salvation, his health, his future spouse, a peaceful prosperous and abundant life, and on and on and on. I prayed for him like I’ve never prayed for anyone else – not even myself. I was smitten with this little bundle in my arms – my Kale Bryant. In the middle of my prayer I felt the Lord speak clearly to my heart. He said, “Pray for ________ and ________.” He told me to pray for two people who had recently caused a lot of trouble for my husband and myself. These people had spread slanderous lies about us and had intentionally done things to cause us financial hardship, which had led to us being unable to even buy groceries for a short time.
But, I knew the Bible said to pray for your enemies, so I did. A very short prayer. A prayer without much passion or specifics. Basically, it was a prayer that said, “Lord, you told me I have to pray for them, so I am. I guess you can bless them if you want to, Lord.”
Immediately after I prayed that under-whelming prayer, I felt the Lord speak to me again. “Pray for them again. Pray for them just like you pray for your baby.”
WHAT?!?!?! How can God expect me to do that? Pray for these horrible people with the same passion and zeal I prayed for my newborn baby with?
So, I tried. It was hard at first. I didn’t really mean it at first. But, after several days, I started to really mean it. I truly wanted them to be blessed. Then, something amazing happened in me. It was like something happened in me spiritually and emotionally. A greater peace and joy flooded my life like I’d never experienced before. It wasn’t a one-time thing, either. It was a lasting atmosphere in my life.
It was like forgiveness was a key that unlocked these feelings of peace and joy.
I do not have this whole “pray for your enemies thing” perfected. Not at all. I have to remind myself often. However, I have learned that the peace and joy that accompany forgiveness and praying for your enemies is a billion times better than the feelings of bitterness and hurt that accompany unforgiveness.