Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- July 25, 2011
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:43-45a
Anybody can pray easy prayers, however, hard prayers change the person who perseveres in offering difficult prayers. What we pray about is what we care about. Whom we pray for is whom we feel for. It is many times a severe struggle to pray for someone who inflicts emotional, relational and physical pain, but this is the Lord’s path to grow us. Those outside of Christ do not have a context for character, but those who know better do.
“Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34a).
Radical prayer roots out bitterness and replaces it with blessings. This cannot be accomplished in our own strength, but only by the grace of God that governs a grateful heart. Our posture of love and prayer for those who stand against us is a picture of our Savior’s sufferings. Jesus did not get back at His enemies—He gave His life for them.
Who has treated you with disrespect, even contempt? Has another’s jealousy led to hatred for you and what you stand for? As a follower of Jesus you are not called to get even, but to engage your offender in radical prayer. It is in this upright contemplative context that compassion is created and extended. Your heart becomes flush with forgiveness. So, by faith, move from mediocre petitions to radical prayer and love: applying both to your enemies as well as your friends. Your Christ like example attracts others who want to become children of God.
“Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:13-15).
Who in my life causes me pain and needs my radical prayers and love?
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