Praying for you enemies – not the easiest thing you will do today

We are instructed to pray for our enemies as well as those who we love and care for. To remember in your meditations those who hate you most is getting into some pretty advanced Christian thought and action. And, it’s what is required by the most basic of Christian belief.

It’s very easy for us to show love, and it’s way far too easy for us to dislike others, which leads to hate,
which can lead to violent words and deeds,
which can lead to killing and cold murder.

All for what reason?

Remember in your meditations and prayers – especially this Advent season – that if we  learn to show compassion on those who show none toward us, then showing love and compassion inward toward ourselves must be a very simple thing, indeed.

If you can pray (and mean it: real, contrite, “on your knees” and telling the truth to the Divine) for your enemies then you can pray for yourself, and show yourself the love you deserve, from within.

Keep praying, in whatever method, manner, and belief you have. Keep the faith!


 

Pray For Our Enemies

 

O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies:

Lead them and us from prejudice to truth:
deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge;

and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

– Amen

 

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Peace and how to pray for it


Tough times.

When we are “at war” with some thing or some place or some group, the most difficult things we can do are to pray for peace without also praying for the decimation of our enemies, and also to pray for our enemies. I say often (I probably nag too much about it) that praying for our enemies is advanced Christianity. It’s rubber-meeting-road as to type of spiritual person: remembering to pray / meditate for those who most want to hurt you, to defame you, to kill you in the name of what they think is right.

In peace, pray for your enemies, as I have prayed for you.

I do wish that Jesus would have come right out and said something like that in those red-text parts of the Gospels.

Oh, wait! He did!

“You have heard that it was said ‘LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR BUT HATE YOUR ENEMIES.’ But I say to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you so that you may be sons of your father who is in Heaven; for he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous…” (Mtt. 5:44)

I’m afraid that many folks who think that they are good Christians only read as far as “hate your enemies,” and stop, because that is the part that suits them. That does not make them good Christians, or good people at all, according to the Western Christian view.

Those people are looking for an excuse to hate, and this verse might give them one, claiming it comes directly from Jesus. That decision of theirs is both sad and wrong, and according to what was actually said in the entire passage probably makes them out to be evil and unrighteous,

according to what Jesus really said in this passage.

When you were a kid (hopefully not as an adult) did you ever have to go up to some other kid you got in a playground scruff with, and some teacher who busted you made you both shake hands and make up? How galling was that? Have you ever done something as an adult to someone that was so bad that apologizing to them was so embarrassing you were afraid to do it? So it goes with this praying for stuff you really don’t want to pray for. You have to – you know – but if you didn’t just get busted by God… you wouldn’t.

That’s the way this stuff goes.

When we ask for peace, there’s little use in praying for some impossibility such as asking that it will all just stop. You know better. That’s not the way humans play at war.

Instead spend time in your meditations thinking on what can be done, what parts can be prayed for. It will vary by situation but doesn’t it always revolves around some variation of one side (or all sides) getting their heads out of their butts to understand the errors that brought everybody to violence and fear. From there, work – when possible – for peace.

As you know, it won’t always be possible to find, yet we pray for it anyway.

The Book of Common Prayer gives us this as a peace prayer, comparing the kind of “Stuff” that is going on around us to what Heaven is like:

Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: so mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever. – Amen

It’s all about the love. No smiting or crushing necessary.

If you’d like to read more about praying for peace when we really don’t want to, you might also read my entry on Mark Twain’s The War Prayer.

Tomorrow I will post a prayer for your enemies, so we don’t mix up the two today. Meanwhile, pray for peace each day in whatever your style of thoughts and meditations. Create the change in yourself to make the peace that extends to all the worlds around you.

Do your part for creating the peace for which we so sorely pray.

Keep the faith!
– Amen

 

 

How to Pray for Peace When You Don’t Know What Peace Is

There’s a lot of stuff going on in the world, and when that stuff is happening far away, or in another country, it becomes very easy to follow the standard prayer for things that are bad but don’t really effect me:

I ask your prayers for peace; for goodwill among nations;
and for the well-being of all people.
Pray for justice and peace.

What if the stuff comes close to home? What if it’s violence or bad feelings or any kind of upset that is so close to your soul that you can feel it? You can smell it?

The best answer is: you can’t.

You can’t pray for peace then because the words don’t come as easy. You’re thinking that if I won’t give God a shopping list of things to fix any other time, how can I do it now.

Look inside yourself and find the peace.

Peace image

One of the prayers that even some non-praying people are familiar with is the St. Francis Prayer. Attributed to St. Francis but we don’t know for sure. The prayer gives a long list of “if this is happening then make me behave in this manner. It’s long enough that folks sort of wander off in thought about midway through. Look at the first line of the prayer:

LORD, make me an instrument of your peace.

In that single line is your answer. If you don’t know how to stop any of the stuff that’s going on outside your door, then ask that – going forward – you have the inspiration to stand above the stuff. Pray that God’s peace show through in your own life and actions.

Repeat as necessary. It’s a wonderful beginning to meditation, thinking to yourself, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.”

Look inside yourself and be the peace.

A fire cannot burn if there is no fuel. Stand firm and discover the ways that you will become that instrument of Peace that the world needs in just that second. It may be small and trivial at the time. It may be unnoticed by others and maybe even yourself. With practice and time, discernment and prayer, you will become that instrument.

God’s Peace be within you and around you.
May you always seek that which is good, and right.
May angels surround you, and hold you upright with
God’s Peace.

Keep the faith!

 – Amen