But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you so that you will be acting as children of your Father who is in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.
Matthew 5:44 – 45 CEB
We enter our prayer closets today (though the prayer closet may actually be the garden shed, the enclosed fencing of the compost heap, or the rows between the tomato vines) charged with perhaps the most telltale sign that we belong to God: Praying for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44).
What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?
Deuteronomy 4:7 NIV
That is, praying for those who are against us — bullies, tormentors, harassers, tyrants, those overtly working to destroy us in one sense or another. To gain the desire and the strength for such a turmoil-filled task, we must look up to God; no other vista will give us the perspective needed for tackling such terrain.
God is good; he provides for our needs and those of all his creatures — food, water, and healed hearts (Psalm 147:3 – 9). He satisfies, strengthens, blesses, and grants us peace (Psalm 147:13 – 14). He is the purest measure of loving-kindness, abounding in love, bestowing gracious favor (Exodus 34:6). He blesses us with rain because of who he is and his desire to care for us, not because we deserve it (Psalm 147:8; Matthew 5:44
But the Lord is pleased with those who fear him, with those who depend on his gracious love.
Glorify the Lord, Jerusalem! Praise your God, Zion!
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates, blessing your children within you.
He grants peace within your borders, satisfying you with the finest of wheat.
Psalm 147:11 – 14 ISV
He does not let circumstance dictate his character and neither should we; he blesses all and we are to pray for all to be blessed. God is delighted when we offer such prayers, because we display our reverence for his very essence and we are humbly placing our hope in his unfailing love (Psalm 147:11) and his ability to protect and preserve us.
Not only are we to pray for our “enemies,” we are also to do good to them (Luke 6:35). We have the means — vegetables, fruit, flowers, herbs — to share! Perhaps there is someone at work, or in your family circle, or in the neighborhood, or at your church who has need of a prayer, a kind word, and a garden-sourced care package from you?
“I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.” Luke 6:35-36 The Message
Prayer: Lord, you have shown us special favor by drawing near to us when we pray (Deuteronomy 4:7), and by revealing your good and loving ways in your Word (Psalm 147:19).You have prayed for me, Lord Jesus (John 17:20); so in keeping with your example, hear my prayer for ______________ (fill in a name) who appears intent on harming me. Open their eyes, and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to the power of God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in you, Lord Jesus (Acts 26:18).
The Garden in Delight blog leads you deeper into prayer this holy season: As the garden wakes up in spring to the work of overturning soil, pulling up dead plants, and digging spots for new ones, so let us put those shovels, spades, and trowels to work as metaphor and Dig into Prayer. At its simplest, prayer is our conversation with God—everything from quiet pillow talk to heaving cry—conversations that will grow more deeply intimate as we get to know and cherish His Words. Let A Lenten Dig into Prayer bring you close to Him and prepare your heart over 7 weeks for a truly special celebration of Christ’s resurrection.
The devotional essays of A Lenten Dig into Prayer were originally published in the “Garden Tools” section of God’s Word for Gardeners Bible under Prayer, ©2014 Shelley S. Cramm. See pages a-37 & a-38 to study by the Book.
©2014-2019 Shelley S. Cramm