People pray in so many different ways; in so many places , at any time of day or night. People pray for so many of the same things; health, to win, to get, for family and for friends and so on.
A PRAYER REQUEST and a PRAYER COMMANDMENT
I am making a prayer request ( because it seems to be greatly needed). Jesus made the commandment.
In our Sunday Bulletin and our church newsletter we have a section called “Prayer Requests” where we list people we are praying for and would like others to help us by praying for them too. I am asking that we list “our enemies”. We know who the people/groups are today, that are in great need of God’s changing grace.
Here is support for this request.
“But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”
The leaders of the time taught the people that one should love your neighbor but revenge your enemies. Jesus came along and said” Your great rabbis, scribes, and scholars have taught you to love only those of your own preference and to hate your enemies,” Jesus was saying. “But by My own authority, I declare that they are false teachers and have perverted God’s revealed truth. The divine truth is My truth, which is that you shall love your enemies.”
It seems that we tend to love based on our wants. Within our comfort zone. The Good Samaritan showed us that love should be based on what the OTHER needs. Even at our own potential loss.
After Jesus finishes washing the feet of the disciples he says ““A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you” (John 13:34) Scholars point out that these men were quite human with their faulty behavior towards Jesus. But none the less Jesus did everything for their good. He set the example, he set the bar, he set it high.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran pastor who suffered and eventually was killed in Nazi Germany, said this about Matthew 5:44 “This is the supreme demand. Through the medium of prayer we go to our enemy, stand by his side, and plead for him to God.
Even on the cross Jesus gave an example of what he meant when he said we should love our enemies when he said “Forgive them for they know not what they do”. Just like our enemies today those people were doing what they thought was right…
Pope Francis continues to carry Jesus’ message to us. On June 14,of this year, during Mass at Casa Santa Marta, he said “May the Lord give us grace, he concluded, to pray for those individuals who hurt and persecute us. The power of prayer, the Pope said, will do two things: it will change that person for the better and it will make us become more like children of our heavenly Father.
There are many articles on this commandment on the internet alone. Here is one example:
Reading them and others, may help us to understand why this prayer request is so important. Reading the news tells us we need to be fervent and pray unceasingly for our enemies.
Thank you for your prayerful consideration of this request.