Below is an audio recording of a time of prayer and meditation on Jesus’ teaching on loving one’s enemies and praying for those who persecute. It was presented as the morning devotional for a church retreat, and I decided to share it with whoever else decides they might benefit from allowing the Spirit to work in them with it.
You are invited, if you wish, to share in the comments your prayers for enemies or anyone you felt led to pray for while you followed along with the recording.
Here, also, are the texts read in the audio, in case you would like to follow along.
Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Here is my prayer for one who persecutes:
Lord, make the president an instrument of your peace:
where he feels hatred, let him find love;
where he feels injury, pardon;
where he feels doubt, faith;
where he feels despair, hope;
where he feels in darkness, light;
where he feels sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that he may come
to be consoled and to console,
to be understood and to understand,
to be loved and to love.
Teach him how to give and to receive,
how to pardon and to be pardoned,
and how to die to self and truly live.
22 The faithful love of the lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
24 I say to myself, “The lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”
25 The lord is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.
26 So it is good to wait quietly
for salvation from the lord.
27 And it is good for people to submit at an early age
to the yoke of his discipline:
28 Let them sit alone in silence
beneath the lord’s demands.
29 Let them lie face down in the dust,
for there may be hope at last.
30 Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them
and accept the insults of their enemies.
31 For no one is abandoned
by the Lord forever.
32 Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion
because of the greatness of his unfailing love.
33 For he does not enjoy hurting people
or causing them sorrow.
(Lamentations 3:22-33 NLT)
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, don’t resist an evildoer. On the contrary, if anyone slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 As for the one who wants to sue you and take away your shirt, let him have your coat as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and don’t turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing out of the ordinary? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matt 5:38-48 HCSB)
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever and ever.