How to Pray for Your Enemies

In this journey that we call life, we are certain to encounter people that we don’t personally connect with, get along with, or even like. Even as Christians who are commanded to love everybody, some people will inevitably find themselves labeled as our enemies.

Enemies are defined as people who are forcefully adverse or threatening. These threats are often physical in nature but they don’t have to be. Enemies can also threaten your faith or your peace of mind.

Fortunately for believers, the Bible commands us to love everyone, but that doesn’t mean we have to like them. As an act of love, we pray for those whom we may not prefer to be around or may not even trust. We pray for those people that we don’t like, but we are especially careful not to hate them.

Why Should You Pray for Your Enemies?

As Christians, we are obligated to live a life that is “Christ-like.” Jesus Christ prayed for His opposers, His enemies, and ultimately, the people who killed Him.

While hanging on the cross in pain and agony, Jesus made a prayerful request of His father to forgive those who cruxified Him:

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

Luke 23:34 New International Version

When we pray for our enemies and those that we know would do us harm, we empower ourselves and increase our faith by our belief that God can improve our circumstances and remove any hatred toward others.

By praying for our enemies, we are invoking God’s blessing upon them and placing them in God’s hands. This act frees us from the worry and stress that accompanies hatred.

Enemies in the Bible

The old testament includes many instances where people wished harm upon their enemies and adversaries. For example, in Psalm 143:12, David asked God to kill his enemies and destroy all of his oppressors. Today, such a request would be considered ungodly.

The instructions regarding God’s guardian angel expressed in Exodus 23:22 says, “If you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you.”

Jesus Christ gave us our best example of how we should treat our enemies. Simply put, He forgave them. He loved them. He prayed for them.

In our best efforts to live a life that mirrors Christ, we should follow His example, making us a light unto others, especially those who despise us.

A Powerful Prayer for Your Enemies

Dear God, thank you for another day filled with life, health, and strength. Thank you for another opportunity to offer you thanks and praise.

Your Word says that you would protect me from my enemies that would do me harm and as you protect me, I ask that you touch their minds, bodies, and spirits.

Remove all evil wishes and desires from my heart and show me how to love my enemies even when I can’t bring myself to like them. Bless them that they may experience a personal change through Your love, oh God.

Bring peace to their life and heal whatever is ailing them. I know that they are good people deep down inside, but their hurt and pain are expressed outwardly toward me and I want to be an example of your love and grace. I don’t want to hate them.

Bring change to their hearts and minds and make them a vessel through which the holy spirit can do great works. Give them the undying desire to live for God and make them a shining example of the life-changing power of the Holy Ghost.

Dear God, if you choose not to change them, change me. Alter my vision so that I no longer see them as an enemy, but as a work in progress through Your will. Grant me the desire to pray for them consistently and use me as Your agent of change to show them Your everlasting peace.

I thank and praise You in advance knowing that Your will is perfect. These blessings I ask in You holy name, Amen.

Bible Verses About Praying for Your Enemies

Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the Lord, and he will avenge you.

Proverbs 20:22 New International Version (NIV)

20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:20-21 New International Version (NIV)

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

1 Peter 3:9 New International Version (NIV)

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Mark 11:25 New International Version (NIV)

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you

Matthew 5:44 New International Version (NIV)

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

Luke 23:34 New International Version (NIV)

When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them.

Proverbs 16:7 New International Version (NIV)

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