Recently, the Holy Spirit put on my heart the importance of praying for our enemies. It’s easy to pray for people we love, but what about those who are unkind or hurtful toward us? I felt the Holy Spirit say to me, “Margie, what about those people who are like brother or sister sandpaper and keep rubbing you the wrong way? What about them? They’re your enemy. I want you to begin to pray for your enemy. You may not feel love for them, but it is the greatest act of love you could do for them.”
The truth is, when we don’t feel love for others, the best way to stir up love is to begin to pray for them, because we will begin to see them the way God sees them. God sees all people—even the ones who have hurt us—as fearfully and wonderfully made. We all know that hurting people hurt people. In other words, those who hurt us have been hurt themselves, and they need our prayers.
I realize that you may not want to pray for those who have hurt you, but choose to do it anyway. Lay down your flesh, and tell yourself, “I’m going to do what the Bible says.” After all, Jesus said, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who have you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:44–45 NKJV).
This isn’t easy, but it’s what God calls us to do, and He gives us the strength to do it by His Spirit. In fact, when we don’t feel love, we can choose to stir up love for people. The Bible says to “stir up the gift of God which is in you” (2 Tim. 1:6 NKJV). Love is certainly one of God’s gifts within us, and we can stir it up. We do this by praying for the people who have hurt and persecuted us.
The more we pray for our enemies, the more we will see them the way God does, and we will feel His heart of compassion and love toward them, despite their hurtful actions. God does not look at people based on their outward actions, but based on their hearts. Of course, that doesn’t mean their actions aren’t sinful, but that their actions don’t define who they are or limit God’s love for them. When we get God’s heart for our enemies, amazingly, we can actually partner with Him in prayer to bring healing and freedom and breakthrough in their lives.
In this way, we thwart the enemy’s plans for evil in our own lives and in the lives of our enemies. Prayer for our enemies is forgiveness in action. So follow after love, and bravely choose to stir up the love of God for others in your heart.
Margie Fleurant is an author, speaker, and teacher on the importance of prayer in our daily walk in life. She is the Founder of Margie Fleurant Ministries. Traveling in the US and internationally as a keynote speaker, Margie uses this motivational knowledge to creatively inspire her audience of all ages in simple, understandable ways. With over 40 years of experience, Margie regularly speaks at churches, conferences, events, and seminars. Margie is the author of 9 books which includes Contend, Focus and Encountering God Through Prayer – these are available in bookstores and online. You can find Margie’s books, teachings, and other resources on her website at margiefleurant.org.