Recently I was in a group discussion of a chapter in “The Good and Beautiful Life” (by James Bryan Smith) which encourages us to pray for our enemies or for broken re- lationships. One of the leaders shared a prayer sheet she had researched and written on how to pray for difficult people. I’m sharing it here because I think it is helpful for all of us – especially for those of us who are troubled by the current political scene in America.
Soul-training exercise for Chapter 7 in The Good and Beautiful Life:
“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28).
Examine my heart to be sure that I have not acted toward another in a manner unworthy of Christ. Read out loud some of the following scripture verses about loving others (Luke 6:27-31; Luke 6:35-37; Romans 12: 14-21, Ephesians 5:1; James 3:17 ). Take time for silence, pondering a verse or phrase.
♥ Recognize God’s amazing capacity for love and mercy and thank God for it. Ask the Spirit to give me a deep capacity for love and mercy in my relationship(s).
♥ Always pray for God’s will to be done. If it is your will, your plan, bless _____ and the work _____ does. Work your will, O Lord! Intervene with your Spirit, softening hearts.
♥ Ask: Help me see _____ through your eyes and be able to extend love and forgiveness.
♥ Ask God to show me ways to do good to ____ (those who irritate, anger, hurt me). Since I cannot change others but only myself, ask God to turn me away from feelings of revenge and instead to show me ways to lovingly interact and respond.
♥ Am I now equipped to take a step in healing/restoring a relationship? Or do I need more time in prayer? Should I seek community for help? Do I still lack courage? (1 John 4:11-12 “If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us”)
♥ Because I have experienced the mercy of God, how do I now extend mercy? Loving another means seeking his/her good and responding in the most loving way possible. Write out some thoughts of how you could respond in a loving way to a difficult person and practice them for when you encounter that person.
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Ways to Pray for Our Enemies came directly from the 8/14/2014 edition of The Gospel Coalition, written by Joe Carter (https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/3-ways-to-pray-for-our-enemies)
Online listening library Grace to You, Unleashing God’s Truth One Verse at a Time (https://www.gty.org/library/bibleqnas-library/BQ021413/how-should-we-pray-for-our-enemies)