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  • Gary Hatrick

Pray for Your Enemies

When I am in a place where prayer requests are being gathered, I hear a lot of requests for physical impairments and healing. I hear requests for financial needs of individuals or family members known to individuals. I hear on occasion prayers for our country, less often for our president and very often for our troops and first responders There's certainly nothing wrong with praying for these things, of course, but it seems to me there are some omissions from our prayer life in general which are glaring from a Biblical perspective. For instance, I don't know that I have ever heard anyone ask that we pray for President Vladimir Putin. I don't think I've ever heard anyone ask for prayer for President Xi Jin Ping. or President Kim Jong-un. Now, I don't like what these men are doing any better than anyone else in America does. They are indeed our enemies. Not many of us would shed a tear if we heard that they died yesterday. That is exactly why they should be on our prayer lists. We are the church, the body of Christ. He is our head. We are his servants. Let me interrupt myself for a moment here. (When I say the church, I don't mean this local church that I belong to or the local church to which you may belong. I'm talking about The Universal Church, what is called in old parlance the Catholic Church (not the Roman Catholic Church) because catholic means universal. We are members of the universal church of Jesus Christ. Hear me now. This is not a denomination, this is the church that Jesus established through his death, shed blood, and Resurrection and empowered through the sending of the Holy Spirit. It is the church made of every believer, everywhere, from every time.) Let's get back to prayer. Hear this command of Christ, the Head of the Church, "You have heard that it was said you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven." (Matt. 43-45) You see we're not only to pray for those we care about. We're to pray for those we don't care about. In fact, Jesus said we are called to care about those we don't really care about. They are lost, they need Christ, as far as we know they are in for an eternity in Hell and we are told to love them and to pray for them. Heads of opposing nations are big enemies to be sure, but beyond those we all have littler enemies. The guy next door that we really don't like. The woman who snubbed us at the last meeting. The guy who beat us out of a promotion. The schoolmate who takes every opportunity to brag about all that they have and enjoy. Christian, Jesus said you are to love them. In fact, that is what he said was the second greatest commandment after loving God. We may never be more like Christ than when we forgive and pray for those who hurt us or hate us. There is something else I rarely hear on the prayer lists, that is for the salvation of souls. Oh we pray for our missionaries sometimes, but do we really pray for gospel outreach? Hear this command of Christ: “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few, therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest" (Matt. 9:37, 38). When as the last time you prayed for that Christian? Is it on your prayer list? For that matter, is working in the harvest field on your to-do list? Jesus not only told us to pray for laborers to go into the harvest. He commanded us to go, but that will have to be for another time. There are other places where we are told directly to pray and I do not have the space to list them, but all of them should be at the top of our prayer lists. When God gives us a prayer request, or rather a prayer command. We should obey. So what will you do Christian? Will you obey the Savior? If your answer is no, the first thing you must do is repent. If the answer is yes here's the first thing you should do: You should establish these things on your own personal prayer list. The one you use when you pray to your Father everyday. Then be bold enough to put it on the list of prayer requests at your church. If your church pushes back on praying for these subjects, well, ... never mind. That's also another subject. (If you are not a Christian. Forget all l I've written. There is only one prayer that will really do you any good right now. That is a prayer that acknowledges your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and his death and shed blood for your sin and his resurrection from the dead. Truly, you don't even have to pray the prayer, but if you don't know what that means, or need some help, or have any questions, contact the church or contact me or contact someone you know is a Bible-believing Christian. Do not delay.) Comments are welcome. [Gary S. Hatrick, (813) 312-7119,]

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