I Must Pray For My Enemy
Today I was to do a hard thing. I was asked to pray for someone who does not love me, or my family or my ancestors He does not have the welfare of my children or the welfare of my grandchildren and great grandchildren at heart. I have often wanted to curse him not bless him to tell him to go to hell and not heaven. I often switch the television station if he is speaking when I turn on my television. My finite mind is audacious enough to wonder if the infinite God is to large and busy to even know that this person is alive telling lies and blistering innocent and good people with scorn who disagree with him. Does a righteous God care that even some prestigious church leaders serving in the most prestigious positions in the church approve of his behavior and even say that God has sent him to be a leader of national and global leadership?
My assignment this April 21, 2020 was to lead Progressive National Baptist Pastors of The Southwestern states of the nation in praying for our president and the higher up leaders who surround him and advise him. This prayer task is legitimate because the sacred scriptures advise us to pray for our leaders. This request to pray for a leaders who blesses one percent of its citizens and who offers crumbs of tax breaks to the ninety nine percent and who has disdain for citizens of Ebony hue who hail from ‘’sh--t hole’’ countries is offensive to my human sensitivities. Should I pray with clergy peers without being a hypocrite? Before leading others in prayer for others I had to do serious soul searching.’’ Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me, and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.’ This prayer from Psalm 139:23-24 suggests that before I pray for change in others, I must pray for the same change in myself. Unconsciously due to my own blind spots, there are areas in my own thought and life where I am in need of correction, forgiveness, and improvement. I must make sure that I have not become what I hate in others.
I must pray for my enemy because the enemy does not have what has been freely given to me. Should I keep from those in need the prayers, forgiveness, love, mercy and patience that I have received and continue to receive every day. I must pray for my enemy because to pray for my enemy means that I am too big to be little and lose my divine identity as a family member of our Heavenly Father. The Lord Jesus Christ taught: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you so that you may be children of your father in heaven. Matthew 5:45. Last but not least, I must pray for my enemy because the God that I pray to is impartial who makes his sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Jesus calls us to the highest ethical standards.
J Alfred Smith Sr.