Praying for the Enemies of Christ Amid Persecution

Adobe Stock

Christianity is under persecution in America and abroad, but why did Jesus teach us to pray for our enemies and why is it so important?

Christianity under attack in America

In an opinion piece titled “Freedom of religion is as threatened today as it was in 1791” published by the Washington Times, former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Andrew P. Napolitano, author of nine books on the U.S. Constitution, felt the need to warn America that religion is under attack.

A week ago, on November 25, 2020, the Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote blocked New York’s governor from enforcing 10- and 25-person occupancy limits on religious institutions, NBC reported. The court wrote: “But even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten.”

but despite the ruling by the highest court in the land, California Governor Gavin Newsom is ignoring the SCOTUS ruling and continuing to impose restrictions on churches, while not cracking down on other gatherings, such as sporting events, protests, or Hollywood movie productions.

In fact, California seems to be purposely targeting churches and has petitioned the Supreme Court to preserve its restrictions, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The coronavirus pandemic has been used by officials, politicians, and other organizations to exert control over churches and religious organizations through limitations, restrictions, ordinances, and lockdowns.

Democrat PAC urges Biden to crack down on Christianity

WND reported on The Secular Democrats of America PAC and Reps. Jamie Raskin, (D-MD) and Jared Huffman, (D-CA) – members of the Congressional Freethought Caucus, that issued a 28-page document on Monday, declaring that the “rise of white Christian nationalism is a national security threat.”

The document seeks to repeal the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was adopted in 1992 to protect religious expression, and ban religious organizations from participating in government programs, support governors who want to close down churches amid the COVID pandemic, require new disclosures from churches, overturn religious-rights precedents such as the Hobby Lobby case, prevent mention of creationism in education and work for a “deradicalization” of “white Christian nationalism.”

The document urges presumptive President-elect Joe Biden to “encourage the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice to dedicate resources to deradicalization programs aimed at hate groups, including, but not limited to, white nationalists; increase monitoring of such groups, including the online environment, and take action to address increased hate crimes toward minority faith communities; and shift rhetoric to label violent white nationalist extremists as terrorists.”

There is much more the 28-page document seeks to change in regard to religion in America that is worth reading in the WND report.

Praying for the enemies of Christianity

Jesus taught that we should pray for our enemies and persecutors.

Matthew 5:44

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”

Luke 6:27-28

“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

Jesus did the same when he was on the cross…

Luke 23:34

“Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.”

Even as his enemies persecuted him and put him to death, Jesus prayed that God would forgive them so that they might obtain redemption.

Further on the subject of forgiveness and loving your enemies, Jesus said:

Luke 6:35

“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”

It is an extension of what Jesus called the second greatest commandment.

Matthew 22:39

“And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

Jesus was referring to the Old Testament:

Leviticus 19:18

“You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.”

Importance of prayer

Christians are encouraged to pray, above and beyond all, that God’s will is accomplished. God’s will is that all be redeemed in Christ.

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

In the so-called Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught the disciples to pray:

Matthew 6:10

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Forgiveness through prayer

Jesus taught we must forgive others in prayer.

Mark 11:25

“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

It is only when we pray in this manner, that through forgiveness, we come closest to the spirit of Christ.

Through all of these actions, we bring the spirit of love, while nullifying the natural impulse that prompts us to hate. Scholar Ellicott writes that “prayer [is] the highest utterance of [Christ-like] love.