How to Pray for Your Enemy

How to Pray for Your Enemy

house Annie Mar 4, 2024

A few years ago, a person I loved chose to make agreements with Satan and sought to wreck my life. What they did, or how they did it, is inconsequential to the story I want to share with you today. Suffice it to say, it was a year of persecution and pain.

I was left grappling with, “How could you treat me like this?” “We are family. I thought we loved each other. Why won’t you seek reconciliation with me?”

I know that all too often, friendships and family ties are torn apart because dysfunctional patterns of relating to each other, bottled-up hurts, and unchecked agreements with Satan about the other person run rampant; we are, after all, fallen sinners saved by grace alone.

So, how do you move on after your family member ghosts you? Or after the person you love sins against you and wounds you emotionally or spiritually? What do you do when your reputation is damaged because someone close to you lied about you? Who can you turn to when you feel utterly betrayed?

Most Christians who have grown up in the church will answer in unison: “Jesus.” And while Jesus certainly knows the pain of abuse and betrayal, it’s actually the Father’s heart that gives us the most context for how to cope with loved ones when they betray us.

God’s heart is one of both perfect justice and unmerited love.

Sin has consequences and never goes without punishment. For those who are in Christ Jesus, we know that our sins have the consequence of a shameful death, but that Jesus paid the price for our sins (Romans 6:23). It is because he took our pain and suffering that we willingly orient our lives to live how he tells us.

The Bible also tells us that God so loved the world that he sent his beloved son to die for us: his enemies (John 3:16, Romans 5:8).

Now, maybe you’re thinking, “Yeah, but I’m not God, and I can’t just turn a blind eye to the harmful things this person is doing to me!”

You are correct. You cannot ignore their sin, and nor should you. You are also not God and do not have a perfect and sinless son to offer up on their behalf. So why am I telling you all of this?

Because God’s heart of reconciliation is on display. God is actively risking vulnerability and demonstrating that even though we have done and said terrible things against him, his heart is that we would reconcile and be made right with him.

I believe this is why Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:44-45 “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is 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.”

So, what does it look like to love the person hurting you? Does it mean you just accept them, never hold them to healthy standards, and allow the pain and persecution to continue?

No. God is clear that sin always has consequences, and a person who refuses to stop choosing harm will find that the result of their choice is a break in the relationship.

The Bible tells us, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).

The word “Yoke” here means fellowship, which is essentially walking in a friendly relationship with that person.

What this verse is saying is that a person who does not walk according to the light, a person who chooses defiling, harmful patterns in their life and against you, doesn’t get to enjoy a close relationship with you.

Romans 13:10 says, “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.” In other words, in order to obey God, we cannot willfully choose to do wrong to someone in our life.

If someone is willfully choosing to hurt you, or continue to walk in dysfunctional relationship patterns, then we need to confront them in love.

Jesus tells us in Luke 17:3,  “Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him”

But what if they don’t repent? What if they choose to mistreat, harass, or trouble you with hostility?

This is the definition of persecution, and Jesus tells us to pray.

Here are 3 prayers to say over someone who is persecuting you today.

Pray for Blessings:

Luke 6:28 “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”

Proverbs 24:17 “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles”

Lord, this person is made in your image. You value their life and love them. Please restore them to a healthy and loving relationship with you. Please give them eyes to see you and a heart that longs for a relationship with you. I know that everything good in my life comes from intimacy with you and I ask that you bless this person with the gift of intimacy with you.

Please touch and heal their wounds and past traumas that are causing them to be blind to their sins and the harm they are perpetuating. Please give them soul healing and physical healing from any harm that is currently holding them back from the good life Jesus died to give them.

I bind Satan’s hands and feet from oppressing them and ensnaring them today. I cover them in the blood of Jesus and any demonic force at work in their life I take to the cross, where you will sentence and condemn it. In Jesus’ name I ask and do these things. Amen

Pray for Forgiveness:

Lord, I know that your word says you will bless those who bless me, and curse those who curse me (Gen. 12:3). This person has done their best to curse me and cause me dishonor and harm. Lord, I ask that you forgive them for the harm they have done to me. I know that they are deceived by Satan, and I know how horrible that pain and deception feels. I ask that you would fill my heart with your love for this person and that you would also remove any seed of unforgiveness from my heart. I know that my forgiveness does not mean I put myself in harm's way or resume a close relationship with this person, but that my forgiveness sets me free from the bondage of pain and harm their choices set around me. Each and every time I find myself thinking about the unjust, persecution and harm they have committed against me, I will choose to take it to the cross where Jesus bore the shame of my sins and I will follow your example and choose to forgive them. Thank you for the gift of forgiveness that allows me to be free from what others have done in my life and meant for evil. I know that you are working this out for my good and I choose to trust in your will for my life as I choose to obey you by forgiving them.

Pray for Conviction:

John 16:8-9 “And when he [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me”

Lord, please enable this person to make good choices that honor you and glorify you today. Please protect them from wrong-doing and hinder them from perpetuating harm towards myself and others today. Please fill them with your Holy Spirit and bless them with the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding. I ask that your Holy Spirit would convict them of their wrong mindsets and choices and that you would work out the miraculous in their heart and life today. I ask for your Spirit to transform their life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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