Any difficult people in your life? Ever pray for them? Not a "give-them-'what-for'" type of prayer because of the way they've treated you but a real prayer. The Bible teaches we ought to do that.
What Does God Say?
Jesus says it like this: "But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you" (Luke 6:27-28 NLT)
Not only did Jesus tell us He expects us to pray for difficult people, He lived it.
"When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified--one on his right and one on his left.
"Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing.' And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice" (Luke 23:33-34 NLT).
And His followers have tried to do the same. The Bible records that first Stephen followed the example of Christ:
"As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' He fell to his knees, shouting, 'Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!' And with that, he died" (Acts 7:59-60 NLT).
And then much later, Paul followed the same course: Paul wrote: "The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be counted against them" (2 Timothy 4:16 NLT).
How is it possible to react like that when someone is trying to hurt you? It's impossible for us in our own strength but it is possible with the Lord's help. It begins with having an attitude that acknowledges there will be difficult people in our lives, and we will sometimes bear the brunt of their words and actions. But the Bible teaches we are not to return evil for evil or try to get even. Instead, we are to pray for them and bless them. Here is our attitude:
"Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don't repay evil for evil. Don't retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it" (1 Peter 3:8-9 NIV).
Relationships are our greatest joys and our greatest sorrows. The poet wrote that "No man is an island." Our lives intersect and connect. Sometimes we experience hurt and disappointment and frustration with others.
Describe an experience in your life when this has been true?
How have you responded?
In light of the above Scriptures, how do you think Jesus wants us to respond?
Are you at a place spiritually where you can genuinely and sincerely pray for the difficult people in your life?
If so, thank the Lord for His work of grace in your life. Ask for His help in continuing to do that. If not, is it because you honestly do not want to? Why not ask the Lord to give you a desire to pray for your difficult people? And when He does, then ask for His strength to go ahead and truly pray for them.
Remember, Paul tells us that God will help us to want to do the right thing as well as help us live it.
"For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13 NLT).
Take time now to thank the Lord for what He has revealed to you of His Word and His will. Pray, asking the Lord to bring to mind two people from your past or present that at the very least have been difficult. Read again the above Scriptures. You’ll know, then, what to do next.