Sunday, April 13, 2014

Pray For Your Enemies

Reading a psalm of David this morning and then reading the 7th chapter of Acts right afterwards, I noticed a striking difference in the prayer of the king and the prayer of the first Christian martyr Stephen. Both prayed for their enemies.

David's prayer reads: "Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see; And make their loins shake continually. Pour out Your indignation upon them, And let Your wrathful anger take hold of them...Add iniquity to their iniquity, And let them not come into Your righteousness. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, And not be written with the righteous." (Ps 69:23-24;27-28)

Contrast that with Stephen's prayer as he was being stoned for preaching the Gospel of Truth to the Jews:

"But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”...And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” (Acts 7:55-56;59:60)

When praying for deliverance from our enemies, we need to remember the passage that makes both these prayers applicable for our own prayer life:

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." - Eph 6:12

David's use of imprecatory prayer is not the model for our prayers about those who hate us anymore than David's propensity to 'groinitus' is a model for Christian pastors to justify committing adultery.

However, those judgment prayers we read in the Psalms are very appropriate when we're praying against the bullies in the unseen world who are laying snares for our feet and inspiring the visible bullies. I'll pray imprecatory prayers against those principalities and powers every day of the week.

Thinking the best of people who hurt us, we need to follow the example Stephen set as he followed Jesus' example when from the cross He prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

The Bible tells us to "be angry and sin not. "Remember that "the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God." - James 1:20

Be at peace --

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, 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, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?" - Matt 5:43-46a

"When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him." - Prov 16:7

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