Praying for Enemies

Good morning. Sadly, it is only Tuesday, April 7, 2015. 161 games left!! (Just kidding . . . I won’t count down every game of the season. At least not here.)

Today’s Word of the Day is savage man. “In outdoor shows, pageants, masques, etc.: a person dressed in greenery, representing a wild man of the woods.” Also, in “Heraldry. A figure of a wild man, typically represented as naked and wreathed with greenery and depicted as a supporter of a coat of arms.”

Today is No Housework Day. I don’t think that needs any explanation.

Yesterday, I felt a little off, from my morning prayer time, all the way until I got home in the evening. I can’t really explain it, but, oddly, Christi said she felt the same way. Hopefully, today will be better.

Fortunately, the Red Sox were not at all “off,” yesterday. They pounded Cole Hamels and the Phillies (along with five other pitchers) for five home runs (including Hanley Ramirez’s 9th inning grand slam) and 8 runs to defeat the Phillies 8-0. The Rangers did not fare so well on Opening Day, as they were nearly no-hit by the A’s, and lost 8-0. Yovani Gallardo was, apparently, not impressive in his first outing for Texas. In the AL East, Baltimore and Toronto also won, with NY and Tampa losing. In the AL West, Houston, Oakland, and Seattle won, with Texas and LA losing. There are fewer games today, as some of the teams who played yesterday (Boston included) take the day off.

Tonight is my Huddle night. I don’t remember and “homework” given to us for this week.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

A Psalm of David.

Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.
The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, over many waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

Psalm 29:1-8

(From Solid Joys)

Today’s reading is “What It Means to Pray for Your Enemy.”

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
Matthew 5:44

“Prayer for your enemies is one of the deepest forms of love, because it means that you have to really want that something good happen to them.”

It is possible to do “nice things” for your enemies and not have a desire for things to go well for them. But when we pray for them, we are more deeply in the presence of God, and God knows our hearts. We are also interceding on their behalf, before God. In short, when we pray for our enemies, we are asking God to do good things for them.

Take, for example, the words of Jesus, as he hung on the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

Or the words of Stephen, as he was being stoned to death: And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7:60)

This is more than a call to just do nice things for our enemies, like greeting them or helping them when they have needs. This is a call for us to want the best for them, “and to express those wants in prayers when the enemy is nowhere around.”

We should, above all, desire their salvation, along with their presence in heaven. So, we should pray as Paul prayed for the Jews, “many of whom made life very hard for Paul,” Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. (Romans 10:1)

Father, I am convicted by this reading today. Although I have no true “enemies,” at least not in the sense that Paul did, there are still people who make life difficult for me, and I should be praying to you on their behalf, asking for good things to happen to them. May your Spirit lead me in this direction, going forward. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth, even, and especially, in this are of praying for my enemies.

I pray for this day, that our travel to work will be smooth and safe. I pray for Christi’s day, that there be no stress/anxiety, and that her work will go smoothly. I pray for Stephanie, that her heart would be full of your love for her, and that she would show that same love to others. May your life shine through my life as I work today, that I might display the Gospel in all things that I do. I pray for my parents, that you would give them strength and hope today, keeping them in your care. I pray for Rachel and Justin, that you would open doors for their future as they seek a path forward. Provide for them whatever they need most today.

Your grace is sufficient.

If you can’t imagine desiring good things for the people you dislike the most, you aren’t following Jesus.

Grace and peace, friends.

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