Praying for Your Enemies
Last year I was put into a lower-level math class at school. The reason I was in this class had nothing to do with my intellect or math skills. I am blind. The school decided that it would be better for me to learn at a lower level because it takes me a great deal longer to complete assignments and grasp visual concepts.
The only problem with being in this class was that I was surrounded by "at-risk" students. These were kids who did not do well in school and didn't want to be there most of the time. Their home lives were obviously much different from mine, and they were constantly in trouble with the school and the law.
I remember sitting at my desk one morning, wondering what I had gotten myself into. We had already finished our lesson for the day, and the rest of the kids had begun to talk about what they had done the past weekend. I tried not to listen, but it was virtually impossible not to. I heard things in that classroom that shocked me. Even though the teacher was in the room, that didn't stop my classmates from discussing the parties they had been to, how drunk they had been and who they had slept with.
I began to dread going to math. I was tired of their swear words, their stories of drugs and violence, and their negative attitudes. Some days they would come into the room in such a bad mood that everyone could feel it. I began to resent the fact that I had to be there. One girl in particular began to eat away at my nerves. Some days I wanted to hide under my desk.
One Tuesday morning, I went to a Christian Student Union meeting before school. There was a guest speaker there that day talking to us about praying for our enemies. I began to think about this. As I pondered the idea, I prayed and asked God how I could pray for the kids in my class. I had forgotten that they weren't bad kids; they were just lost.
At first, the prayers were mechanical. When I would hear their voices in class, I would pray, "Dear God, please bless so-and-so . . ." But as I continued, I began to think of the kids more often. I especially thought of the girl who got on my nerves the most. I began to think of her more and more, and in my quiet time at home I would ask God to bless her and the rest of my classmates.
As time went on, my classmates became more than just annoying kids to me. There was something growing inside my heart for them, something that wasn't there before. They began to feel like family, and I was learning to love them in a way I never thought possible.
I now see that praying is such a powerful act. Prayer is the most powerful tool a Christian has. When I pray for those around me, it also blesses my life, and it changes my perception of others. I realized I needed God's blessings to see the world through loving eyes. The prayers I said for others turned out to help me the most.