Matthew 5:44 NASB
But I say to you,
love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
Pray for those who abuse you and persecute you.
Now we immediately feel that this can never be accomplished in our own strength, because we are by nature haters of God and our neighbors.
It is the same with the order contained in our text.
We are admonished to pray.
To pray is to beg for help and salvation.
Even if it is for ourselves, we do not do that so easily, because with that we recognize that we no longer know and cannot do it.
And that doesn’t suit people.
But… if it is for ourselves or for those who are dear and dear to us, then perhaps it will still work. But that is not what is asked here.
Here counts, “If you love those who love you, what reward do you have?”
No, this is about praying for those who hate us.
And that, not only for those who hate us, but for those who have turned that hatred into suffering for us and violence towards us.
What the Lord demands is not only that we do not repay them for their hatred, or suffer their violence wordlessly, but on the contrary, we are called to a positive act, namely to pray for them. That is, for good, to invoke salvation for them.
It’s difficult but not too difficult.
By grace it is possible and it is heard:
Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.
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