As I sit and reflect, our prayer requests at church are often dominated by prayer for our members, our leaders, our friends, and our church. In other words our prayer is often directed towards things that we find near and dear to us. We pray about things that affect us, things that often have a direct impact on our lives. In a way it is selfish, but at the same time it isn't, because often our minds are focused on things that go on in our lives. It's the way of us, it's the way of humanity. People and things that impact us are the things that we spend a majority of time thinking about. This does not make us bad people, it makes us human. In fact, we should pray for our friends, our families, our church, and ourselves, it's a good thing to do. It shows we care enough to take those people and ourselves to our Master, our Savior, the One in which we base our faith in. It shows that we value these people as much as God values them!
That being said, God values us all, He values those who have wandered astray as much as He values those who are already members of His Kingdom. If He didn't, He wouldn't have valued me at one time and He wouldn't have valued you at one time either. "For while we were still sinners," God showed us his ultimate love through Christ's death (Romans 5:8). God loved us so much that He was willing to sit and wait for our return, He was willing to leave the flock and find us, He was willing to search nook and cranny for us as if we were all that He had, He was willing to die for us on a cross. All this He did while we were His enemies. He valued us before we ever valued Him!
So what about our enemies? God was after us while we were enemies! So why can't we in the church seem to actively pray for our enemies, or in other words, those whom God is after? Why can't we pray for those who seek our harm, both personally and just in general? It's hard, I won't lie. I mean pray for someone who wants me to fail, pray for someone who wants to blow me up, it's inconceivable! Why would I want to do something like that? We do it because we value them, we understand who they are deep down, despite the fact that they fail to realize who they are. We u derstand that they too are God's creation. A creation of God's, a creation that God desires to have a relationship with, just as He has with us. We ought to pray for them, because we believe in the power of prayer, we believe that it is answered by God, and we believe that it can turn people towards God who have turned away from Him. We pray for them because we want them to have what we have! We pray for them because to only love and wish for the well being of our friends is something even the pagans do (Matthew 5:47). We pray for them because it is impossible to hate someone whom you pray for. Finally do remember hatred of another is akin to murdering another (Matthew 5:21). But praying for our enemies is something we do because we follow Christ, and Christ states that we ought to. In the end it is not just for their sake, but for our sake too.