Many of us have always found refuge in the Psalms. We use Psalms and the Books of the Prophets and other Old Testament books when it suits us to pray for the destruction of our enemies. We offer prayers that should destroy our enemies instead of prayers to change them. The question is: why do we do this? Have you ever seen any such prayer offered in the New Testament by Jesus or by His disciples?
It is important to note that the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch, (Acts 11:26). Why were they called Christians? Because they were behaving and living like Christ. And how did Jesus Christ live? He loves everyone and never for once wish eternal Hell on anyone, (John 3:16-17). So, Jesus, “Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously”, (1 Peter 2:23). Because of His love for humankind, He could say, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”, (Luke 23:34) when He was unjustly crucified.
All the apostles preached love instead of vengeance. Paul advised us: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord”, (Romans 12:19). Paul went on to tell us not to be “Overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good”, (1 Corinthians 12:21). Peter also echoed the same message when he said, “Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing”, (1 Peter 3:9). The only way to do this is through love, which is why Paul said, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love”, (1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV).
Jesus said, “And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these”, (Mark 12:31). Yes, you read that right. Why do we ignore this teaching of Jesus? Jesus summed up the commandments and said the first is to love the LORD with all our hearts, mind and soul while the other is to love our neighbours as ourselves. Neighbours here include friends and enemies alike. There are no greater commandments than those two; which means all other commands are subject to those two. No one has ever prayed for his/her own self destruction, so why do we pray for our enemies to die?
We seriously need to sit up as Christians. One of our main core duties as Christians is to preach the message of salvation to unbelievers, which include our enemies, (Matthew 28:19-20). The Second Death, which is reserved for unbelievers is no joke, (Revelation 20:14-15). If you therefore pray for your enemy to die and experience Hell Fire instead of praying for him/her to repent, what benefit is there in it for you? Would Jesus approve of your prayer?
I urge you to pray for God to change the heart of your enemies instead of asking God to destroy them. That’s the better way – the way of love Paul talked about, (1 Corinthians 12:31)!