How are you loving your enemies? It should not surprise us that Jesus Himself applied this impossible command with a prescription for prayer.
But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.[i]
I recently read something on the web from a man who works as a Christian apologist that severely attacked Bill Nye (the science guy). I wrote a comment about loving and praying for Bill Nye. The man wrote back somewhat offended thinking I was saying he should abandon his ministry. I admit that that I may not have been as kind or loving as I should have been to the apologist with my public comment. But it is crucial for believers to base our polemics in the love of Christ.
This requires prayer because it is impossible in human strength. I need to regularly pray for God's power to love my enemies. I need to ask God to help me love members of ISIS and radical Islam. And this needs to be specific. I need God to help me pray by name for my Muslim Medical Doctor and the News anchor who will twist the News to get people to support same sex marriage. And yes, the television personality who would lead my grandchildren into sin and unbelief.
And I don't know about you, but I have trouble figuring out how to do and even think about this. I need God to show me how to love, my family and friends. How much more do I need Him to show me how to love my enemies?
I just saw a great interview on this on http://www.radical.net/blog/ . I want to recommend this blog to all serious Christians. And certainly more pressing to the point of this subject, I want to recommend this particular video whose link is http://www.rosariabutterfield.com/ This video and others on this site are particularly on loving my homosexual neighbors, but they establish the principle of prayerfully loving real people.
I discipline myself to pray for many people that stretch my prayer life. I have wondered if I should make a special prayer list for my enemies and for enemies of Christianity in general. At this point I have decided not to pray for them in a specific list. First, I have enough trouble praying for them when they are mixed with people who are not as difficult to pray for. And I need to see prayer needs as a mixture of growth and joy. And the greatest of these elements often flow out of the love for the same people. Father put Your love in me for enemies all around us.