Sometimes there are people I just don't want to pray for. People that, in my excellent judgement, deserve judgement rather than my prayers. God has called me up short on this one today because that perspective doesn't match Scripture.
Why it's hard for me
As I'm writing this, ISIS has displaced many of the Christians who formerly lived in Iraq. Those who remain are being massacred if they did not convert to Islam.
For the past few days my prayers have been for the Christians in Iraq. But, as I was praying this morning, I was reminded that I should also be praying for ISIS.
That's hard for me because my heart goes out to the oppressed, not the oppressor. But, oh, how my perspective is wrong. In God's view, we're ALL oppressed if we're not in Christ.
So, rather than preferring to pray for one person and not the other, I need to remember that God's heart is for the reconciliation of all people to Himself.
God says we should
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Truthfully, that's hard for me. There's a part of me that wants to see justice done. But I have to remember that God has already met out all justice through His Son. So I must learn to pray for those who are persecutors.
Will you join me?
Will you take a minute and join me in this prayer?
Heavenly Father, I ask that you would be with the Christians and any others who are being displaced because of their beliefs. I ask that you would protect and guide them. That they would have the peace of your presence.
Lord, I ask that, for the protection of those who have remained behind. I ask for your hand, even on those who have converted to Islam out of fear. Lord, don't let go of them.
And, Lord, this is the hard part, so I ask that you would take my small prayer and make it big.
I pray for not only the oppressed, but also the oppressors. I pray for the members of ISIS. I ask that you would forgive them as you've forgiven me. I ask that they would have inexplicable encounters with your presence. I ask for revelation.
I ask that your love would abound to them. That they would be grounded and rooted in love. That they would abound in wisdom and the knowledge of Your Son, Jesus.
Lord, we don't pretend this is easy. We don't pretend it doesn't matter. But we do want to be submitted to Your Word.
May Your Kingdom come and may Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.