Saturday, April 10, 2010

Pray Them Away

Several years ago a friend of mine was very unhappy with her son’s choice for a girlfriend. One day over coffee, she told our circle of friends that she was “praying” this girl out of her son’s life.

I remember another similar instance when I was at a women’s retreat. I was standing in the cafeteria line when I overheard the woman next to me say to her friend, “The guy is really terrible, and I’m praying him out of my daughter’s life”. So, apparently this is something moms do.

I guess I understand the sentiment behind the need to plead with God to do the dirty work, but I wonder what Jesus would do? In Matthew 5:44 Jesus says, But I tell you: Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. (NIV) Not only are we supposed to love and pray for our enemies, but God’s word encourages us to go even further. We are supposed to (gasp) "do good" for them. Look at Luke 6:35—But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most high, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Wow!

I want to remember that God has brought people into my life for a purpose, and maybe only for a short season. For that reason, I pray that I will love them as God loves them. And, when I can’t love them, I will pray for them. Always. When some of my close family members were buried deep in their drug addiction, I was introduced to some very unsavory characters. But you know what? I prayed for them, I was kind when they were in my presence, and I even sent a Bible to one of the young men when he went to prison. Though I hadn’t invited them into my world, I sensed that they had slipped into my life for a season and I prayed for them.

I started this post by talking about a friend of mine. I’m sad to say that she must not have thought God was working fast enough. She offered to mentor and give Bible studies to her son’s girlfriend, and the girl quickly took the mom up on her offer. When the two women met at the appointed time, my friend pulled out a notepad on which she had listed all the reasons she was praying the girl out of the family and the church. Later that day, the boyfriend called to tearfully end their relationship. The girl never went back to church.

It’s not easy—in fact it’s often unbelievably hard, but get off the pew and love your enemies. Get off the pew and pray for the hard to like person who persecutes you. Get off the pew!


  1. That is so sad. I am so sorry for that girl, but more for the mother.

    One of my regular prayers is that I 'may be the only Jesus or church that someone ever comes across and that I will truly reflect Christ'. I can't say I am all the time, but I hope and pray that when it is important then I am able to be a free-flowing conduit of Christ's love. (My kids aren't old enough to be dating yet, but we pray for their spouses already.)

  2. Thank you so much for your comment! I too pray for children's future spouses--perhaps that is why they are not yet married :) The hardest thing I ever did was pray for my daughter's abuser. But, that was freeing! God loves that guy as much as He loves me! That's truth.