Considering Matthew 5:43-48 and Luke 6:27-36, is it right or wrong if we pray for or against our enemies or other fellow human beings who include witches and wizards, terrorists, kidnappers, armed robbers or other wicked people or sinful humans beings?
This article will explain everything clearly to you. Before you proceed, read: Psalm 54:5, Psalm 143:12, Matthew 5:43-48 and Luke 6:27-36
A detailed analysis of praying for and against one’s enemies
Having read the four quotations above, how will you answer the question “Should we pray for or against enemies that are human beings?“
The contrast between the first two quotations and the last two quotations
All the quotations above are from the Bible. However, the first two are at variance with the last two. In the first two, the Psalmist expressed hatred and prayed against his enemy while in the last two, Jesus Christ commands us to love our enemies and pray for them.
First of all, Jesus Christ, acknowledges the Psalmist’s attitude towards an enemy before commanding us to desist from it.
What Jesus is saying now is that, in the past, aggression or hostility towards an enemy was, at least, overlooked but now it can no longer be overlooked or condoned.
Who is an enemy, by the way?
An enemy is one who hates another and wishes him injury or misfortune and tries their best to ensure that such calamities happen to his victim in order to gratify his own malice or ill will.
Having seen the definition of an enemy, why should anyone, any entity or being, throughout the entire universe, however great, or highly placed they may be, command us not to be antagonistic or hostile towards an enemy? Continue reading to see the answer.
Did anyone love and pray for his enemies?
Yes, I’ll mention at least two prominent people who did and they are the following:
1• Jesus Christ: Jesus Christ does not teach something and practice the opposite. He is the one who teaches us to love and pray for our enemies and he himself abides by this command. Read Luke 9:51-56.
In that passage, Jesus demonstrated love for his enemies.
Conversely, prophet Elijah, who was mentioned by the disciples, called down fire from heaven to consume his enemies on two consecutive occasions and could have done that, at least for a third time, had the next target not swiftly appealed for mercy. Jesus, however, did not, even though he could. You can read the Elijah story in 2 Kings chapter 1.
Also in Luke 23:34, Jesus prayed for his enemies.
2• Stephen: Stephen also prayed for his enemies who stoned him to death. Read the following: Acts 7:59-60
Why Jesus commands us to love and pray for our enemies
Many people are surprised by Jesus Christ’s unpopular command for us to love and pray for our enemies and want to know why. Below are the reasons:
1• Doing so is an attribute of genuine children of God, our Heavenly Father.
2 • Doing so signifies that we are better than our enemies and enables us to be ranked higher than them in the spiritual realm
3 • An enemy’s attitude towards us can attract divine blessings to us.
If we knew all the reasons why Jesus Christ ask us to love and pray for our enemies, we will always thank him for that command. But because we don’t know, we see Jesus in a bad light over that command.
Show me only one place in the Bible where God blessed or promises to bless someone because they have no enemies but were loved by everyone else, and I’ll show you some places where God either blessed or promises to bless people because they have enemies and were hated. Read Psalm 23:5, Genesis 29:31 and Matthew 5:10-12, 1 Peter 4:14, Isaiah 60:14 and Revelation 3:9.
4 • Before your rebirth, YOU, TOO, WERE AN ENEMY and were behaving as such: Do you know that before you repented and became born-again, as a christian, you were someone’s enemy also. Some of us were even worse than the enemies we are praying against. You may consider this unbelievable but it is the fact. Since this is the case, why do you think that you deserve God’s mercy but your enemy does not. What if the person you were an enemy to had prayed that God should destroy you and God answered his prayer, would you be here today? No, you would long have been in hellfire.
Furthermore, even if you still doubt that you also were someone else’s enemy before you were transformed by God, do you know that you were, at least, God’s enemy before he transformed you. Do you want God to believe that he made a mistake by refusing to kill you when you were his enemy? Read the following: Romans 5:10 as well as Colossians 1:21-22
5 • Your human enemies are captives of Satan and the flesh (sinful nature). The human enemies you see today are people like you who are been influenced by our least known enemies, namely: Satan, the Devil, and the flesh, also known as the sinful nature. So, if you keep praying against your human enemies instead of against what is influencing them, you’ll continue fighting a losing battle. This is because Satan and the flesh will always have somebody to use as an enemy against you. So, let us learn to fight the real enemy the right way. Read the following: 2 Timothy 2:25-26, Ephesians 6:12 and Romans 8:5
6 • We should join Jesus in praying for the whole world instead of contributing to the warfare against humanity: When you pray for humanity, including your enemies, you give God and the rest of the forces of light the right and opportunity to intervene in the deteriorating human affairs, occasioned by the warfare being constantly waged against the human race by Satan and the rest of the forces of darkness as well as the flesh, using human beings as their agents.
By contrast, when you pray against fellow human beings, even your enemies, you are contributing to the warfare against humanity as Satan and the rest of the powers of darkness hijack this prayer and use it as a right and opportunity to perpetuate their vicious operations against the human race.
Jesus Christ is not praying against the world but for the world. Therefore, join Jesus Christ, instead of Satan, in his ongoing prayer for the whole world, both for the bad and good people. Read the following: Romans 8:34 and 1 Timothy 2:1-4
7 • Your enemies cannot do anything to you. You don’t need to fear your enemies because they cannot do anything to you. Read the following: Jeremiah 1:19 and Isaiah 54:17
What about justice? What about enemies that actually deserve to be destroyed?
No matter the type of enemies you have, the command is just one: “PRAY FOR THEM.” God has not authorized you to ask him to destroy any human being however vicious they may be.
Nevertheless, you have the right to pray that God should discipline someone else, if you have discerned that they are misbehaving habitually without any remorse or willingness to repent. This tallies with God’s will because the Bible says that when God disciplines us, his aim is to make us share in his holiness. So, there’s no law against you if you pray that God should discipline someone else but not destroy them.
Now, justice and enemies that actually deserve destruction
God is the chief administrator or minister of justice and he knows how to do his work. Only God knows when to destroy someone and who to destroy. Those enemies that actually deserve destruction, God knows them and will destroy them at the right time even without your prayer.
For example, when God killed Er, Judah’s firstborn, in Genesis 38:7 and Herod, through his angel, in Acts 12:23, who prayed that he should? Was it you, I, or someone else? The answer is “NO.” God killed them because he knew they deserve it and the right time for that had come.
A time when the will of God must prevail despite prayer for or against enemies. Read: Ecclesiastes 3:1
It is out of ignorance or disobedience that we pray against our enemies. God has time for everything. Furthermore, he has protocols that he must observe. He has rules of engagement that he must follow. Therefore, no one can use prayer to make him bypass all these.
When the time for your enemies to be destroyed has not come, no matter how fervently you pray against them, God will never destroy them. However, when your enemies deserve destruction and the time for that has come, no matter how fervently you pray for them, unless if the time for their destruction have not come, God will still destroy them.
Haven’t you even ever prayed for someone who is not your enemy yet your prayers went unanswered and what you had wanted to avert through that prayer still happened to the person? So it is with those who are your enemies. Before you proceed, read the following quotations that can encourage you: Galatians 6:7, Exodus 34:6-7 and Exodus 23:22
Operate within your office, a vital lesson from king Saul’s example
God has given you the office or role of praying for everyone including your enemies but has not given you that of praying against them. So, remain in your office. Don’t venture into an office that doesn’t belong to you as doing so is both counterproductive and dangerous. It can make God regret his goodness towards you, with disastrous consequences.
When king Saul ventured into the priestly office and performed a sacrifice, he incurred divine wrath. You can read the story in 1 Samuel chapter 13.
Finally, in connection with the story of Saul and other disobedient people, read the following: 1 Corinthians 10:11
Thanks for reading this article to the end and may God bless you in the mighty name of Jesus Christ.