What I mean by the title is not merely that you pray that your enemies be winsome people who get more people on their side. Rather, that we must pray that our enemies would repent in order that they might become our friends. This is a risky way to pray.
It means you may have to leave the comfort of your home, your internet connection and go to meet someone you are scared of face to face. It may mean confronting your persecutors with the standards of the law so that they will be ashamed enough to repent … They may not necessarily repent, but if you pray, and pray faithfully, you may persuade God to persuade them to change their heart.
There is a risk you could lose a fortune on your new friends. You could lose the comfort of financial security. You could lose your health by going to people who are diseased or who intentionally infect you and seek to do you harm. You will at the very least have to spend time you could use making money and spending time with easy friends in order to represent the Kingdom of God in “hostile territory.” Indeed, you could die, without winning any new friends from among your enemies in your own lifetime.
Is it worth it?
Yes … if you do it on behalf of Jesus, completing the sufferings He suffered.
He promised that those who are persecuted for righteousness sake have the kingdom of Heaven which is peace, joy, and righteousness. You just can’t beat that deal. But first pray. Indeed, the beginning of the beatitudes is, “Blessed are those who are beggars in spirit, for theirs IS the Kingdom of Heaven.”
You have the treasures of heaven available, if only you will come before the Throne of God and beg, if only you will obey until you suffer. Wow!!
If you were to ask the Gazan Christians if this was easy, they would tell you that they count it all joy. If you were to ask the observers of the character of Christians who fled terror in Iraq, you would hear that the Christians did not respond in kind with violence, but with kindness. The saints violate the normal tit-for-tat way of doing things by forgiving enemies.
This sounds too hard, you say, too surreal. Let me ask you a question: Would you rather suffer a little in this life, or suffer for all eternity apart from the presence of God?
Take up the cross Jesus hands you, or suffer all loss because you do not understand Jesus.
I hope that as you count the costs, and consider the benefits in the long-term of following Jesus, you will follow Him with a glad heart.