On Sunday, my pastor's sermon was about this verse. He is doing a series called Loving The City and one of the things he said was that "loving the city means doing the unexpected." One of the other things he said was that "when you pray for your enemies, it changes both of you."
When I think about the city that I live in, I don't really think that everyone hates me or my church, but I do think that that praying for my city will both increase my capacity to love my city -- in unexpected ways -- while calling on the great God that I serve to open hearts to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. To those who might expect judgment, I want to offer love and hope. To those who have been hurt by church, I want my church to welcome them with open arms. To those who feel like they are not worthy of grace, I am reminded that God's grace is sufficient for ALL.
As I think about this verse through the eyes of the Ehty people, I think about the 20 or so of them who have professed Jesus as their Lord and Savior. These Christians endure persecution on a daily basis -- persecution that has actually caused some of them to renounce their faith. It may be easy for them and also for us (who are praying that there is a great movement among the Ehty people to trust Christ), to see the people who are persecuting these Christians as enemies. But Matthew 5:44! We have to love those who are persecuting and pray for them! AND it's going to CHANGE THEM and us! Will you join me in praying for those among the Ehty people who don't believe today? Let's LOVE them from around the world!
And while we are loving them, let's bring this verse to this people group. Click here to sponsor Bible translation - takes just a couple of minutes to impact thousands - ONE VERSE can change a life!