Why praying for an enemy is so powerful.

Have you ever had an enemy in your life? By that I mean a real enemy, someone who actively works to do you harm, not just someone who doesn’t like you. I would venture that the answer is probably yes. Recently, it came to my attention that someone I have suspected for many years, is indeed my enemy. This person actively works to hurt me and destroy my reputation. So what do you do when something like this happens? Do you become angry? Bitter? Vindictive? Spread slander? Refuse to forgive? I will admit, those are all powerful temptations in a situation like this, but there is one thing that God has been repeatedly showing me, and that is the power of forgiveness. Not just for me, but also for the other person. I thought about this individual and as much as they hate me, I realized that their level of hatred has to be comparable to the level of darkness and deception that they are in bondage to. The Bible tells us we do not wrestle with flesh and blood. (Ephesians 6:12) They are blind to the truth. And quite frankly, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I needed to pray for mercy and that God would forgive them. I don’t wish hell on even my worst enemy! As I pondered on this situation and prayed about it, the Lord began to show me some scriptures to help me understand what was happening in the spirit realm as I sought His mercy, choosing to forgive, and standing in the gap for this individual. He took me first of all to His crucifixion in John 20:23 where He asks His Father to forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing. He then took me to Acts 7:55-60 which is the story of Stephen being stoned to death because of his faith. Stephen cries out to the Lord, whom he sees standing at the right hand of the Father, and says: “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” (Vs. 59) This same passage introduces us to a young man named Saul, who later becomes the Apostle Paul. Why are we given these examples? If you go to John 20:23 Jesus tells His disciples the following: “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained”. We have the power to forgive sin on behalf of others. What do I mean by that? When I forgive this person who has become my enemy, I am standing in the gap on their behalf. I am in effect becoming their mediator. Now I know we only have one mediator, that being Christ Jesus, but He wants us to be like Him. What I believe He revealed to me is that when we choose to forgive our enemies, something powerful is released in the spiritual atmosphere. I think we are in fact reducing the devil’s power over that person when we forgive and ask God to forgive them as well. He tells us that He desires mercy and not sacrifice (Hosea 6:6, Matthew 9:13) Is it possible that the reason why Saul became the Apostle Paul, is because of Stephen’s forgiveness for his sin of murder that Saul committed against him that day? God loves us. He loved the world so much that He sent us His Son. I cannot save anyone, obviously, and my forgiveness and standing in the gap on their behalf, does not save them, but I believe it lessens the devil’s power enough that God can work in their lives, so that they too can cry out to Him and ask for His mercy. That is the power of intercession at work!

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