But when that glob of oil comes up, and they flag it- and then miss the smaller glob about 5 yards later where it soaked through- I say to God, "And You want me to pray for them, eh?" (Yes, see 1 Timothy 2:1-3) And because of my attitude it becomes a chore. Or because they chop the head off a journalist. Or because they screwed me out of a commission I sweated over for hours. See, it ain't always easy to get past our attitude to pray for the enemy. So what is the proper attitude?
This morning is one of those mornings God said, "Follow along with the sermon in your Bible, there's something to see." And the sermon took us to Psalms 71, where David is coming before God in his old age seeking help against the rebellion of his son Adonijah. And three things really stood out for me. The first was actually at the end; the second in the middle; and the third was actually on the page before in Psalm 70- and they all led the same direction.
Psa 71:22 I will also praise thee with the psaltery, Even thy truth, O my God: Unto thee will I sing praises with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel.
Psa 71:23 My lips shall shout for joy when I sing praises unto thee; And my soul, which thou hast redeemed.
Psa 71:24 My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long; For they are put to shame, for they are confounded, that seek my hurt.
Here we see how David prays about His enemies- by putting the focus on God and His righteousness. It is hard to pray for someone who has wronged you- it is much easier to praise God, and ask Him to increase His glory by moving in their lives. So instead of going to God asking Him to help someone you really aren't convinced you want helped, or aren't sufficiently inspired to pray for, bring them to God as an opportunity to increase His glory! Surely you can't have a problem asking the Lord to magnify His name?
Psa 71:17 O God, thou hast taught me from my youth; And hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works.
Psa 71:18 Yea, even when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not, Until I have declared thy strength unto the next generation, Thy might to every one that is to come.
Here David reminds us of the Great Commission- to pass the praise of God to the next generation. This is the true goal, not getting through a workday with no defects or even living through persecution. Remembering the goal is the important thing- and if your prayers are heard and one near-sighted fabric worker whose mind is more on stopping off after work for a handful of rice to feed his wife and seven squawling kids (or is that a squawling wife and...) than the run on the fabric he's supposed to be watching is led to Christ, then that run was worth it.
Psa 70:4 Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee; And let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified.
Remember, if you have your salvation, then you already have the Greatest Gift Of All. Let all your prayers start with that thought, and you'll find that praying for anyone is much easier.
So, pray for your enemy. Focus on God's glory, remember the goal, be grateful for what you possess through Christ, and it will be easier. Even when the fabric has a break 41/2 yards into a 5-yard panel on an item marked, "Mega-Hot". Or even when the blade is at your throat.