Sunday January 25, 2015 “Three Reasons to Love Your Enemies”

Matthew 5:44-47 “44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?”
Welcome to the Sunday night edition of We are the People.  This is the day we pray prayers of agreement concerning three prayer points joining our hearts together for a minimum of 15 minutes between the hours of 6 and 9pm (all time zones).
We have been following the “Sermon on the Mount” in our daily prayer time at WATP.  Tonight’s focus finds us looking at a difficult teaching of our Savior but a necessary one if we are to be distinguished by the kind of love we show to friend and foe alike.  As we look at these three areas of focused prayer let us allow the Holy Spirit to first challenge our hearts.
Prayer Focus #1:  God brings sunshine and rain indiscriminately on both good and evil people.  God uses this to move evil men to change.  “The goodness of God leads us to repentance” Romans 2:4.  Pray that God’s people will understand this counter-cultural principle and practice it so God can use kindness to enlighten darkened hearts and lead them to Jesus for salvation.
Prayer Focus #2:  Jesus teaches us to love our enemies because that is the only way to overcome hatred and evil.  Responding to evil with evil will simply perpetuate the cycle of wrong doing.  When the “sons of thunder” wanted to call down fire on the Samaritans in the Gospels Jesus rebuked them.  Had James and John had their way there never would have been the response to the words and love of Jesus when the early church took the gospel to Samaria.
In today’s world, where evil abounds and we hear about it 24-7, it is easy for us to become hard hearted toward the purveyors of evil.  Let us pray that the people of God guard their hearts and not allow hatred to find a place.  When we do this our hearts of compassion and love will lead us to the place where we will not turn away the next “Apostle Paul” due to our prejudice.
Prayer Focus #3:  We are to be the salt of the earth and the world’s light.  If we simply do good to people who can return the favor – what difference is there between the believer and the unbeliever?  Tonight let us pray that America, beginning with the church, let go of the “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” attitude.  Remember our righteousness or heart attitude is to be much better than those who do not know Christ.
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