“First of all, then, I ask that requests, prayers, petitions, and thanksgiving be made for all people. Pray for kings and everyone who is in authority so that we can live a quiet and peaceful life in complete godliness and dignity.” 1 Timothy 2:1-2 CEB
Are we to give up and become bitter because the world around us is so evil? Never. We should be offering up prayers for all people, friends and foes alike. Who knows who’s heart God will soften and change? Throughout history some of the most ruthless people in the world have repented. Check out the passage below to confirm this:
“Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had demolished; he also erected altars to the Baals and made Asherah poles. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshipped them. He built altars in the temple of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “My Name will remain in Jerusalem forever.” In both courts of the temple of the Lord, he built altars to all the starry hosts. He sacrificed his children in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced divination and witchcraft, sought omens, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing his anger. He took the image he had made and put it in God’s temple, of which God had said to David and to his son Solomon, “In this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my Name forever. I will not again make the feet of the Israelites leave the land I assigned to your ancestors, if only they will be careful to do everything I commanded them concerning all the laws, decrees and regulations given through Moses.” But Manasseh led Judah and the people of Jerusalem astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites. The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. So the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon. In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God. Afterward he rebuilt the outer wall of the City of David, west of the Gihon spring in the valley, as far as the entrance of the Fish Gate and encircling the hill of Ophel; he also made it much higher. He stationed military commanders in all the fortified cities in Judah. He got rid of the foreign gods and removed the image from the temple of the Lord, as well as all the altars he had built on the temple hill and in Jerusalem; and he threw them out of the city. Then he restored the altar of the Lord and sacrificed fellowship offerings and thank offerings on it, and told Judah to serve the Lord, the God of Israel. The people, however, continued to sacrifice at the high places, but only to the Lord their God.” 2 Chronicles 33:1-17 NIV
Who would have thought a man as wicked as Manasseh would one day repent? Manasseh was a devout practicer of the occult, but God had different plans for him. Who knows how many people God have turned from witchcraft to serving Him?
WE ARE GOD’S PRIESTS
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9 NIV
Sometimes I think we forget that we are God’s priests and priestesses. Being joined to Christ gives us divine authority and many privileges. When God tells us to pray for someone we should be willing to do it.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48 NIV
Pray for those who persecute you? Yes, that’s what Jesus says. Remember, as God’s priests part of our job is to pray for everybody. This is God’s will. I’m sure people were shocked when they saw the change in Manasseh. Maybe just as surprised when the saw a change in you and me. Even if those we pray for never accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior at least we are walking in love. And there is nothing more powerful than love. God is Love (1 John 4:8) Love wishes good and does good to its neighbor. We are benefitting mentally, spiritually, and physically by obeying God and praying for everyone. This keeps us from ever becoming bitter and makes us better.
“May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.” 2 Thessalonians 3:5 NIV
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