“Lord, please don’t let my husband die today.”
For a long time those were the only prayerful words I could muster for my now ex-husband. I was hurt and angry and didn’t really want to pray for him. But a sweet lady at church asked me to and I wanted to be obedient to the request.
For a long time I struggled to pray for him. I didn’t want anything good to happen to him. After all the pain I’d been through, the last thing I wanted to do was ask God to bless him. If you’ve been a single mom for any length of time I’m sure you can relate.
It’s been many years since I struggled to pray that first sentence, but now I have no problem praying for my ex. In fact, I pray for him just about every single day. Why? Well, I learned that it was important that I pray for the father of my children.
3 Reasons to Pray For Your Enemies
1. They may be hurting too
We live in a fallen and sin-filled world. Everyone is hurting and struggling with something. And often because of this, we sin against other people. This does not mean that it becomes okay for someone to keep sinning against you. It means you recognize that they are a person who needs salvation and healing.
2. It will help you heal and forgive
Over the years I have learned that it is hard to stay mad at someone you are praying for. Taking the time to pray for someone is a way to show that you care about them as a person. And God will use this to help you learn to forgive and to help heal the hurts you are feeling.
Forgiveness is a choice. You decide to forgive the hurt someone has caused you in order to be free from the bonds of anger and bitterness. As long as you are focusing on the wrong someone has done to you, there’s no way to move forward or heal. You have to make up your mind to forgive no matter what is going on.
I do want to point out forgiveness does not equal amnesia. Abuse (in any form) is one of those times when we need to forgive but not forget. Forgive the sin so that you won’t be held in bondage to bitterness but don’t forget their actions.
3. It sets a good example for your children
Children love their parents no matter what. Even if they feel hurt and abandoned, they still love mom and dad. Praying with my children for their dad was a way I could let them know it was okay to feel that way. I didn’t want them growing up thinking they couldn’t talk about their father or enjoy their time with him.
If you aren’t a single mom, I bet there is some relationship in your life that’s not where it needs to be. Your children are watching what you do when you are upset and hurt. They are watching to see if you really mean what you say.
When I told my boys we needed to forgive our abuser, they had watched me walk that out for months. I wanted them to understand that I knew it was hard. I knew that it wasn’t fair. But it was something that needed to be done for us. Not for him.
Do you struggle to pray for those who hurt you?
Want more encouragement? Read How to Make a Prayer Journal