But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. – (Matthew 5:44, HCSB)
But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. – (Matthew 5:44, ERV)
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you. – (Matthew 5:44, CEB)
When Jesus was teaching His disciples on the mountaintop, He gave them specific instructions about how they were to love. Incredibly, Jesus modeled this sort of love in everything that He said and did. Even when He was hanging on the cross, He prayed for God to forgive the ones who put Him there. If Jesus can pray for those who persecuted Him and ultimately put Him to death, we can pray for those who treat us badly, irritate us, mess with us, or just plain annoy us with their behavior. As a middle school teacher, I am provided the opportunity to do this daily. Some students are still struggling to behave in a way that is conducive to teaching and learning. Each day I pray for my students and for the day on my way to school, and most days, I am challenged to love within the first five minutes of my first period class. Though exhausting, and often exasperating, I know that I continue to be called to pray and choose to love. May we ever seek the Lord to strengthen and equip us to love and pray for those who are the most difficult.
Lord, help us to love,
To seek You and pray;
For strength and courage,
Each and ev’ry day.
Grant us Your wisdom,
The words we need hear;
To love people well,
And trust You are near.
Lead us in Your love,
To pray and to give;
Grace, hope and Your love,
Each day that we live.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love and pray for all people. Thank You that you modeled this perfectly, for You continued to love and pray for those who persecuted You and crucified You. Forgive us for the times that we act as though we are exempt from this command because somehow people’s unkindness justifies us to do the same. Teach us how to love best and give us the words to pray for all who are difficult to love. Lead us each new day to pray and to trust in Your provision for the wisdom and strength to love well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in prayer and trust Your provision to love all. Amen.
The Lord of Hosts says this: Make fair decisions. Show faithful love and compassion to one another. – Zechariah 7:9