Monday, April 02, 2007

Pray for them.....

My friend, Nita, emails me every morning with a devotion. I wanted to share the one for today, because I am so guilty of not doing this. Why does it seem easier to complain about people who do this to you, rather than pray for them? In reality, complaining doesn't change anything and then we may ruin the day for the person we are complaining to. Maybe this has made me realize more of how much I complain, than about being used.

I was reading the other day about the purple bracelets people are wearing for their commitment to trying not to complain for 21 days straight. And how it takes most people at least 3-4 months to accomplish this. Changing a habit is difficult and 21 days doesn't seem like very long, unless your trying to change a pattern in your life.

Luke 6:28
"Pray for them that despitefully use you."

This verse belongs to the forgotten prayer commands of the Lord Jesus. He taught at length about prayer, but this is one of the very few instances, aside from the Disciples' Prayer (or Lord's prayer, as some call it) where He stressed to His disciples that they should pray for a particular thing.

There is nothing optional about this word of Christ: it is an imperative command. "Pray" He said, "pray for them who despitefully use you." He leaves us no choice and makes no condition. He does not say, "Pray for those who despitefully use you but wait until they say they're sorry."

Every one of us has, at some time or or other, been despitefully used, and probably will be again. But are we really obeying our Lord's command to pray for the people doing it?

From a personal standpoint, I find this one of the most difficult things to pray about, and especially to pray it from the heart. It takes a lot of discipline to get to that point -- not sure I'm there yet, but I'm working on it (rather, God's working on me about it).

It is not for us to whittle down but simply to obey this command. And let it be remembered that in this instance, the Lord Jesus is asking us to do only what He Himself did on a much larger scale. As He suffered on the Cross, He prayed for those who despitefully used Him when He asked His Father to "forgive them, they know not what they do."

Something for all of us to ponder.

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