How Would Jesus Pray?

You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you: Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you…”

Matthew 5:43-44

Lately social media (and society in general) has been crawling with controversy, and I for one have not been seeing much “healthy debate.” Hostility and rage are the norm, and I’m not going to insult my readers by elaborating on the obvious. Anyone who has been on line for more than five minutes knows human relationships aren’t what they used to be or could be, but few seem to have any answers about how to fix the situation.

But we who have a personal relationship with God – who created everything, knows all, sees all, and loves us all – SHOULD have answers. We should BE the answer.

There’s no shortage of individuals on social media describing themselves as Christians, complete with the vocabulary and their own style of virtue signaling. The latest revelation of corruption in our culture is met with appropriate hand-wringing and bemoaning the moral decay in America today. I’ve read comments such as, “I hope they burn in hell!” Most are subtler, but not much. Influential people who promote or support ungodly agendas, or who are suspected of working behind the scenes are described with such biblical-sounding terms as “demonic,” “pure evil,” and “Jezebels!”

But, to quote a movement from a decade or two ago, “What would Jesus do?”

Jesus walked this earth during the Roman rule, when the poor were downtrodden and taxed into oblivion, while the rulers built lavish palaces for themselves. Those who dared to resist could be seen beside the road, nailed to crosses or trees with vermin and wild birds feasting on their rotting flesh – a clear warning to anyone else who might be thinking about rebelling.

Enter Jesus, the God-Man, perfect Love, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, touching and cleansing the lepers, delivering the demonized, and preaching love – even love for one’s enemies.

And how was He received? He was betrayed, abandoned by His followers, stripped naked, beaten to a pulp, crowned with thorns, mocked, spat on, and nailed to a cross.

And how did He respond? “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Praying for one’s enemies is about as counter-intuitive as it gets, but Jesus was living out this teaching from His Sermon in the Mount, when He had told His disciples to love their enemies. He had elaborated by saying, “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” (Matthew 5:46-47) Clearly Jesus didn’t want His followers to be like everybody else. He even said that if we love our enemies and pray for them, we will be sons (and daughters) of our Father in heaven, who “causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (verse 45)

When Jesus prayed for those who were crucifying Him, He was resembling His Father. And when we love our enemies enough to pray for them, we will, too.

But I haven’t seen much of that kind of family resemblance lately. We’re good at righteous anger and having compassion for the victims. We pray fervently that the “right side” will prevail, but what motivates those prayers? Hoping the “evil, people” burn in hell?

When praying about the political world these days, I am sometimes overwhelmed by the corruption that seems so rampant, and evil forces that seem to be in control, even among those I had admired and trusted and expected to take a stand for what’s right. I’ve been disappointed almost to the point of despair.

Then I think of Chuck Colson.

In case you’re too young to remember (I doubt many history classes are telling his whole story), Colson worked for President Richard Nixon and had a major role in the Watergate scandal. He was caught, convicted, and sentenced to prison. This man went from being one of the most powerful men in the world to being a convicted felon with a number.

But something changed. Someone had been praying for him.

Before Colson went to prison a friend gave him a copy of C. S. Lewis’s book Mere Christianity and told him about the God who loved him even while he was a sinner and died in his place so he – Charles Colson – could be forgiven and “born again.” After wrestling with his pride and self-sufficiency, which was pretty well shot by this point, he surrendered his life to Jesus. Through providential circumstances, Colson was released early, but not after his life had been transformed by the humbling experience of being a “nobody” in the eyes of the world. He went on to write a best-selling book, Born Again, which had the country talking about what exactly that phrase meant.

And, keeping the promise he had made to his fellow inmates, Chuck Colson went back to prison – not as a convict this time, but as the founder of a new ministry, Prison Fellowship. In the decades to come Prison Fellowship would minister to millions of prisoners world-wide, sharing the same Good News that had changed Colson’s life Meanwhile, with his knowledge of law, history, and government, he spoke to millions daily about the Christian world view through his radio program “Breakpoint,” as well as speaking engagements all over the world.

When I pray for the people who seem totally corrupted by evil, I do pray, like many, that the guilty will be caught and brought to justice, but it’s because if that happens, there’s a chance that they, like Chuck Colson, could repent and be transformed into a glorious child of God. If not, they likely will go to their graves believing they got away with what they’ve done, only to face eternal justice. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.

My wildest dream as I pray for the situation today is that God will raise up a thousand Chuck Colsons for His glory!

Will you pray that with me?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, Your prayer for the ones who crucified You proved that You can love anyone, and your transformation of Chuck Colson proves that You can save anyone. We pray for those who are caught up in today’s corruption, that they might be stopped in their tracks and be brought to justice. We pray they will learn the futility of trusting in themselves. May they surrender their lives to You and be reborn to new life. Make them trophies of grace that tell the world of Your transforming power, in Jesus name, Amen.

53 thoughts on “How Would Jesus Pray?

  1. This reminded me of a conversation I had with my mum many years back. When she was young and new in her faith, she used to think that yes, we are not to judge but leave it to God. Deep down she felt that God meting out justice would be harsher on them. She told me that she later realised that she was completely missing the point and heart of Jesus.
    When they don’t get away with it, hopefully it makes them reflect on what they did and the hurt they caused and our prayer should be for a change in their heart and a surrendering of their lives to Christ.
    A wonderful and powerful reminder Annie.
    Blessings to you πŸ€—πŸ’™

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks, Manu. I was deeply hurt by someone who worked with me in ministry, and God helped me to just let it go. It was very freeing. That person is now serving a long prison sentence for something I knew nothing about. The Lord was definitely harder on him than I would have been.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I can understand that freeing feeling. I personally have found that it takes me a long time to pray for someone who has hurt me and when I reach that stage I know that deep down in my heart I have truly let go of that hurt.
        So sorry to hear that someone who worked with you in ministry did that. That hurts differently and for some it makes them question being in church or even their faith.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Beautifully written. I am praying with you too. When we are able to pray for our enemies, it frees our soul. I love the book of Matthew (even my son the same name), and quote that scripture often as well. Now, watching The Chosen, it has given me a deeper awareness of what Jesus did for us ALL. β€οΈπŸ¦‹πŸŒ€πŸ™

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Hi. Playing some catch up here. May I just say: Amen!! This is definitely a huge conviction of my heart! Chuck Colson’s story is a personal favorite of mine for the sheer wonder of how He can call us from the worst of circumstances and bring about beautiful transformation. I don’t want to hijack the thread with a long spiel but I can’t help but be reminded that my dear husband learned this as a young man in a prison cell of his own. With his approval, I share the following:

        He’d grown up in a Christian home, adopted from a rough and abusive beginning in life. He was a young teen when he began experimenting in Satanism, drugs, and alcohol. At 17, he went to prison for armed robbery and grand theft. He learned quickly how to not show his cards in order to survive. Therefore, he had gotten a fairly dangerous reputation simply for being the quiet one no one could fully peg. But, at the same time he put on a hardened facade, he was a scared kid searching for the truth he’d left behind. Apparently, at one point, there were several contracts out on his life, probably from witnessing the wrong thing at the wrong time. Now, this was something he did not find out until after the night he finally cried out to the Lord. From what he could gather, every contract was cancelled that very same night for varying reasons! From there, he recognized his second chance and became a light for Jesus that has never quit shining. I have benefited very personally from this, obviously.πŸ™‚

        And I share this for two reasons: One: You can never discount what God can do in a downtrodden life. He alone is hope when all hope is gone!
        And two, to circle back to praying for others-
        If his mother had given him up for reprobate and stopped praying and if a prison ministry had decided he wasn’t worth witnessing to or praying with, he probably wouldn’t be here today, helping me minister to youth and any others he encounters. It is very easy to spout off on social media about the lost in our society and wish hell on them. It is much more the challenge to speak love over them and pray they will experience salvation in Jesus and know eternal life in heaven. But, it is a challenge He asks of us and equips us for if we will but take it! Thanks for stirring my heart with this good word, dear Annie! Blessings!❀

        PS. We watched The Chosen with a Bible study group. Looove it!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Mrs Mariposa, I love this sooo much! Both your husband’s story and your comment (and that you love The Chosen series). Woo-hoo! Omniscience God is mighty!! β€οΈπŸ¦‹πŸŒ€πŸ™β˜―οΈ

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Marissa, I can’t find where to respond to your comment, but I hope you will see this anyway…
        What an awesome testimony! Thank you SO much for sharing this – what a powerful confirmation of what I was trying to say – powerful because it is first-hand experience. No, NOTHING is impossible with God, no one too far gone for Him to save, as long as there is life in them – and there is someone praying for them! I hope you will share this story on your own blog, if you haven’t already. It needs to be shared at every opportunity, on every media possible.
        Blessings!
        Annie

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Thanks so much, Annie! Glad to be a blessing! I know hubby will be too! When he tells it, I still get goosebumps. God is so good! I have long wanted to share hos testimony. Really, I wanted to help him.write a book on it to follow up on my first one, since it was largely my testimony but, when that one didn’t take off, my publisher was no longer interested in any sequels. Still…it begs to be shared some way. It’s a matter of getting him to sit down and dictate it to me.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Oh, I understand, Marissa! I really thought that with the lockdowns, I would get SO much writing done! But I still haven’t figured out how to budget my time between writing, prayer, Bible study, worship, laundry, cooking, helping with the grandkids, blogging, reading and responding to comments, and reading and commenting on other people’s blogs … ! And I have certain physical therapy I’m supposed to be doing every day, so I “can continue to use my hands.” – That’s a pretty strong motivator! If I get to bed before midnight, I consider this a rare accomplishment. (*eye roll*)
        And for you, it’s not just carving out a chunk of YOUR time, it has to be when hubby is available, too! We just need to keep telling ourselves, “I can do ALL things [that He wants me to] through Christ who strengthens me.” πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

  3. A few months ago I started praying daily for Christians who are in prisons or jails, because what they are exposed to is much more difficult than anything you or I would have to live with on a daily basis. And that includes the ministry they have in those prisons or jails. They don’t even have the gift of silence very often so that they can focus their thoughts. I remember Chuck Colson, read his books and followed his ministry. You’re right Annie, we need thousands and thousands of Chuck Colsons, literally everywhere, which I would think is the reason that Christians are to be different, to stand against the chaos all around us, not join it, to bring light into the increasing darkness. So I do join you in your prayers. Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A few months into my latest SSRI adventure, I decided to reboot my blog and unfollow everyone. “I’ll go to the actual blogs of the people I usually read”, I thought. Hah. Fat chance. πŸ˜‰ I’m back in full force and catching up on yours.

    If you’re ever bored, check out the “Awakening from the Meaning Crisis” series on YouTube by Dr. John Vervaeke. He goes pretty deep on spirituality and how necessary it is moving forward.

    Like

  5. As crazy as politics is I am like you, I wouldn’t want people to go to hell even if they are disagreeable and extremists. I want to see many come to Christ, even if they go to jail. Good post!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow Ann, this is just what I needed to hear today. I will join you in this prayer for those in power who are taking our nation down the path of evil and destruction that they will be caught and punished and come to know the Lord.
    I sure miss seeing you.
    Stay well my friend.

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  7. It’s easy to condemn others, especially when you feel like they have no qualms about destroying everything in their path. However, we need to stop for a second, and like you said – ask what Jesus would do. I pray for people to find their way but I know he has sort of a plan for that…

    Good to see you!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Amen you are so right that we need to pray from God’s point of view. Thanks for reminding me of the Charles Colson story. We must not forget that God is still God and can still do whatever He chooses with whoever He chooses. Have a blessed weekend

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I also loved Chuck Colson’s book. We might easily say, “Yes, pray for our enemies.” But to pray in sincerity and in earnest is a bit more difficult. Yet it is an important and vital message for the Church today. Thank you for writing this post. Examples of changed lives remind us of the power of God’s grace and love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Praying in earnest” doesn’t have to mean we FEEL like it. I’m afraid people don’t give much credit to obedience for obedience’s sake. They think if they don’t feel it, it doesn’t count. But I would submit that it counts even more, because it is a harder choice. Another thing I’ve discovered is that if I pray for these people regularly, even just as an act of my will, I do start to feel more like it, which does help. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I totally agree. Honestly, I don’t really “feel” like it at all, I admit. But I think you are right and it will be easier the more I do it. Funny how we tend to forget that command to pray for our enemies. It is not something we want to do in our flesh. Blessings Annie!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Imagination can be a motivator. I am a visual person, and when I visualize those people repenting, their being transformed into what God wants them to be, and the impact it would have on the world, I can actually get excited about praying for them. Of course, that requires truly believing that my prayers have power. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I like what you said about our just being obedient even if there are no feelings behind it. That has encouraged me to pray for our enemies. The more I do it, the more my heart softens toward them, even when I don’t like what they are doing.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Ann, visiting here from Cynthia’s post, and glad I did. Good read, and I agree. I’m blessed to see so many folks have read this and responded to it! I’m not a “blasting” kind of person, but I know, in my heart of hearts, that I can be very judgmental. Thank you for pointing me in God’s direction.

    Liked by 1 person

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