It’s easy to pray for others to succeed, right?
Yes and No…
It’s easy for me to pray for my wife, my kids, my family, my friends, my church, the leaders I admire, the people I want to have relationships with to succeed. I do that all that time.
I know that’s pretty selfish, but it’s easy, it’s fun and it’s a joy asking God to pour out His blessings and give His favor to the people I really love. I mean, I really want them to succeed!
Done deal, right?!?
Jesus has something absolutely ridiculous to say about taking it a step further and when I say a step…I mean
A HUGE STEP
“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. 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. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
~Matthew 5:43-48 (The Message)
Wow! I don’t know if that has set in you, but it hits me like a brick in the face (not that I have ever experienced that!).
Jesus again, does what Jesus does…he upsets the apple cart…BIG TIME.
Pharisees taught that yes, you should LOVE those near and dear to you (Lev. 19:18) but, they also taught that Israel’s enemies should be hated. They implied that their hatred was God’s means of judging their enemies.
Oh, but here comes Jesus. Jesus comes right out and says that Israel should demonstrate God’s love even to her enemies!
“He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty”
What if we prayed for the people who are hard for us to pray for?
Our competition, our bullies, and the bad and nasty people? Basically, our enemies!
Jesus followers aren’t suppose to have enemies, though, right?
Well, the bummer is, we all do. Family members who don’t understand our commitment to Jesus, co-workers who don’t get our convictions, or other believers who have become upset with you over something.
So, maybe it’s not like a brutal–vicious enemy. But, I guarantee that from time to time you may have relationships go sour, or people who try to compete with you over everything, or out-do you, or bully you or make fun or just simply remind you that you’re not all that great!
So PRAY for their SUCCESS!
Yeah, I know it’s crazy. But, try it.
Pray for God to give them wild SUCCESS.
Pray for God to unleash the floodgates of Heaven upon them.
Pray for God to bless them…relationally, spiritually, financially, emotionally.