We Must Pray For Our Enemies

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. ~Jesus Christ, Matthew 5:43-48

As long as we do not pray for our enemies, we continue to see only our own point of view – our own righteousness – and to ignore their perspective. Prayer breaks down the distinctions between us and them. To do violence to others, you must make them enemies. Prayer, on the other hand, makes enemies into friends. When we have brought our enemies into our hearts in prayer, it becomes difficult to maintain the hostility necessary for violence. In bringing them close to us, prayer even serves to protect our enemies. Thus prayer undermines the propaganda and policies designed to make us hate and fear our enemies. By softening our hearts towards our adversaries, prayer can even become treasonous. Fervent prayer for our enemies is a great obstacle to war and the feelings that lead to war. ~Jim Wallis, Seeking Peace

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