Pray for the Enemy
Why do we pray? We pray not only to change others around us, but we pray against ourselves to change ourselves. We also pray that God interfere in and bring His reign. I pray that you take the time to read this piece carefully and with patience. I ask you to finish this article, pray about what you learned, and even come to it again.
Reading the article will be hard to read at times because we are all sinners. Because we are all sinners, this piece will speak against your own righteousness and piety that you have created. In short, this article speaks against the biggest idol of all, yourself (Ecclesiastes 9:1-6). When this idol is exposed, a sinner retreats to the locked box where we feel safe (Mark 3:22-30). It takes Christ and Christ alone to bind sin and evil so that you can be free. Hence, one of many reasons why we pray.
Our Father, who are in heaven…
Before we begin, let us read the prayer our Lord has taught us. In the Lord’s prayer, we call upon the name of the Lord himself, which we find in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-21). In calling upon His name, “Our Father, who are in heaven…” we are calling upon God Himself and invoking His name. We are not calling upon ourselves but upon Him. When you invoke His name, He is working at putting you to death right away (1 Corinthians 15:26). He is working to kill the sinner and deceitful heart. We don’t like this and fight against God’s action. But what God is doing is killing death – death is the result of sin catching up to our bodies, and hell is the separation from God.
Forgive our sins, as we forgive those who sinned against us…
When we pray this petition, you are praying against your own righteousness. This righteousness can be choosing who deserves your care, prayers, and love. Your righteousness can also be choosing who does not deserve forgiveness, love, prayer, and care. Indeed, you are dead in sin and do not recognize you are dead. Dead man can tell no tales.
To say that you are not dead and have the right to choose who deserves prayer and who does not, you thumb your nose against God and blaspheme the Holy Spirit. Recognize that you are calling God a liar by doing so. You make the decision that He cannot decide who deserves prayer and who does not (1 John 1:5-10). However, God has decided who deserves prayer and forgiveness. If you concede that scripture is truthful, God’s Holy Word, and correct, you cannot deny His authority. If you decide that scripture is not Holy Writ but a guide to life and pious living, you still choose to ignore this guide. But I assure you that all scripture is breathed out by the Holy Spirit and not man (2 Timothy 3:16-17). To say otherwise is to call Him a liar.
Now, it is time to hear who deserves prayer and forgiveness. Nobody.! Nobody deserves God’s mercy….not one. God is very clear about His teachings. Romans 3 has declared that even our throats cannot declare the goodness of the Lord because only the Holy Spirit can do this. To a sinner, God is the enemy, and His teachings are counter to what we believe. We do not declare Him righteous because of the fallen state that we live in. Our fallen nature (sin) has declared that we can indeed follow God’s commandments, say who is righteous and who is not virtuous, who deserves forgiveness and who does not deserve forgiveness, and declares what we believe to be true. In sin, we declare ourselves God. You raise yourself above God!
In Matthew 18, we learn what it means to pray and forgive those who sin against you and the neighborhood. We must recognize that we have sinned and fallen short in the eyes of the holiest God. To know this and confess that we have fallen short is to be humble and know that we are no better than those around us. Indeed, to say somebody does not deserve forgiveness or prayer is to convict the self into sin and under God’s condemnation. Just as Cain (Genesis 4:1-16) did not turn towards God, you will be consumed. Cain’s hate consumed him, and Cain committed murder. Not praying or heeding the words of God to pray for your enemy is to murder in the heart (1 John 3:15). You are no better than Cain. If you do not abide in what God has said, then you are not in Christ but of the world seeking vengeance (1 John 3:16-25).
We pray without ceasing for the joy that God has given us great mercy, forgiveness, and care.
We pray for the enemy that God does as he will. Whether that is sending the person to counseling, jail, recovery, etc., we do it out of love for the individual and ourselves to love the individual.
We pray against ourselves so that we are put to death to know and trust in God entirely. For without Him, we are dead to sin and cannot free ourselves.
We pray so that we understand our own sin so that we can pray for others.
LUTHER'S MORNING PRAYER:
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.
LUTHER'S EVENING PRAYER:
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have graciously kept me this day; and I pray that You would forgive me all my sins where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Your hands, I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen
--Rev. Cody Mills