Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Praying for Our Enemies

Christ tells us to love our enemies and pray "for them that despitefully use you" in Matthew 5:44. Nowhere does he ever tell us to pray for ill to happen to an opponent. Yet, Senator Coburn asked that his supporters do that on the Senate floor before the vote on health care reform. Whatever your belief about the rightness of the bill, no Christian should pray for misfortune on another. That some did is horrible.

The evidence for that is the video above where a caller wants to know if his group's prayers for the death of Senator Byrd have backfired and killed Senator Inhofe. Senator Barrasso assures him that Senator Inhofe has not expired and simply missed the vote because he knew it was a lost cause. Senator Barrasso evidently thinks that it is normal to pray for an opponent's death since he takes the caller's comments in stride and responds only to the question as to the health of Senator Inhofe. He does not address the question as to how hard he prayed for Senator Byrd's demise. Altogether this exchange is spine chilling.

When we pray for our adversaries, we are to pray for the best to happen to them. This is difficult to do. C. S. Lewis wrote that one way to deal with our anger toward another who has wronged us is to pray for their well-being. I did this a number years ago. I don't know if the praying helped the one I prayed for, but I know that it extinguished any hatred and anger I had toward this person. There lies the answer. Christ's instruction leads to our own well-being.

Christians must never pervert prayer for an evil purpose. To do so denigrates God and eats away our souls. My prayer for those that wished ill for Senator Byrd is simple: "Please God, bathe them in your love. Amen."

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