Pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:28)
Really, Jesus? Pray for my enemies?
Lord, you know how much I’m hurting here. You know what happened and how deeply that other person wounded me. It feels like there was a direct attack on me and all I hold dear. And so I want the person who did this to be caught and punished! Make it impossible for him to hurt anyone else the way he has hurt me. Lord, I’m afraid that’s the best I can do. You want me to reach out with an olive branch of prayer and intercession, but how can I reach out to someone when my own arm has been dislocated—by this very person?
Maybe before I turn to praying for my enemy, I need some heavy-duty healing myself. You did invite me to come to you when I feel burdened. Help me take time out, and let your love wash over me. It may be hard for me to believe right now, but you didn’t abandon me for a second. You aren’t a stranger to any hurt I’m feeling.
All right, let me try again: “Lord, open this person’s eyes to see how wrong it was for him to hurt me as he did. Bring him to heartfelt repentance!” There. How’s that?
What? You want me to forgive him too? Even if he never asks? Even if I do it one small step at a time? You want me to try to love this fellow? Isn’t that asking a bit too much?
Lord, I need you to let me in on the secrets of your heart here. I know that you have unconditional love for both me and my enemy. I need to know the ultimate purpose of this love. I even need your power to pray that this purpose will be carried out. I know you want to unite me to yourself so that you can transform my selfish heart. I know too that you want to unite me with my enemy in heaven. I know you can do this, Lord; please help me to cooperate with you so that every wall of division in my heart can be pulled down.
“Lord, bring my former enemy into the fullness of your love. Healed and freed by you, may we become one in your Spirit.”
Father Ed Bakker,
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne