Pray for Those Who Hurt You
I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. – Matt. 5:44-45 MSG
It’s an old adage that hurt people hurt people. It isn’t shocking to find out that someone who has been cruel to you is dealing with heavy emotional baggage. And if we aren’t careful, we’ll just continue the cycle of pain. When we pray for those who hurt us we disrupt destructive patterns and initiate powerful rhythms of healing and peace.
Jesus called us to love our human enemies because we have a distorted understanding of who our real enemy actually is. When we think people are against us, when we create schisms of “us” and “them,” we’re overlooking our true enemy – the enemy of our souls. Sometimes we forget that everyone is in the same boat, that we’ve all fallen short of the glory of God and that his desire is to redeem us all.
When we pray for those who hurt us we participate in God’s redemptive work – in us and others. Praying for those who hurt us renews our minds because:
- We remember that God loves all people
- We remember that we all have a common spiritual enemy
- We remember that God will redeem all things
- We trust that God will handle the situation according to his will
- We practice true love
Prayer is an incredible and invaluable thing. When you pray, do you remember that the God of all creation is listening? We may forget that audience with God is a special sort of thing because he’s made himself so accessible. But what a precious gift it actually is to pray for another person – to engage in conversation with God on their behalf.
This week, practice a rhythm of praying for the people who hurt you. When someone is mean to you or even just rubs you the wrong way, take a minute and go before God in prayer for them.
If you’re not sure what to pray, start by being honest about what hurts and why. But take care to ask God to bless the person who has hurt you: to heal them, to give them wisdom, to redeem the broken or misused parts. Pray for them like you would a hurting friend. Pray for them like you would want someone to pray for you.