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Prayer Tip: “Only Love Can Do That”

January 14, 2024
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Daily Scripture

Luke 6:27-28

I say to you who are willing to hear: Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Driving home from church one Sunday, I came to an intersection and waited at the flashing yellow arrow. I was about to turn left when I saw two ladies at the crosswalk. I motioned for them to go ahead and after they safely passed, I started my turn. I didn’t notice the oncoming car; but thankfully, the driver honked. I hit my brakes and avoided a wreck. As he drove by me, he stopped and rolled down his window. I rolled mine down too, so I could apologize. You could see the anger on his face. “Why don’t you learn to (expletive) drive!” he shouted. He sped off.

I was shaken. I knew about road rage; but had never experienced it to this degree. I drove off cautiously. I was thankful there wasn’t an accident; but I couldn’t stop thinking about this man, his face, his words. He didn’t know me at all. He didn’t know I was coming from church. He didn’t know I had just let two ladies cross the street. He didn’t know I was tired and not feeling the best. And he obviously didn’t care. I was just the guy who almost caused a wreck.

But I didn’t know him either. I started wondering about what had or was happening in his life that would cause him to react this way. Was he or someone close to him sick? What were his family and job situations? Was abuse or addiction involved? Had he received some horrible news? Or was he just having a really bad day? After all, he wasn’t just the guy who raged at me. He was a person who was obviously hurting in some way.

I had a decision to make. I could write this guy off as a jerk or I could practice what Jesus taught in our Scripture today. Fortunately, I chose the latter focusing specifically on the part that says, “Pray for those who mistreat you.”

Before we pray, I want to acknowledge that my encounter was minuscule in comparison to the many extreme acts of hate and violence people have and are experiencing in our community, nation, and world. In those situations, I can’t imagine how hard it would be to follow today’s Scripture. We remember and celebrate this weekend one person who did this so well, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. May we follow his example and choose love.

 

Prayer

Gracious God, We come grateful for your presence and your care. Thank you for wanting to be in relationship with each of us and for sending your son Jesus to teach us your ways of love. Those teachings aren’t always easy to follow. Jesus told us to love our enemies; do good to those who hate us; bless those who curse us; and pray for those who mistreat us. Today God, we ask for your patience and strength as we strive to live out those words.

And so, we pray for those who bring hate and violence into our world. May they understand that the pain they’ve caused is wrong and stop. May they allow their hearts to be changed and begin caring for others. And as they move from the darkness to your light, gather others around them who can offer support and encouragement. Turn them to goodness and help them spend the rest of their lives bringing hope to others, not pain.

We also pause to repent of the times we’ve hurt others. Forgive us and help us to do better. May we make amends when appropriate and make the changes needed to care for and serve all in your name.

Finally Compassionate God, we pray for those who’ve been hurt. Surround them with your care and comfort. Keep them safe and give them strength. Bring healing to their minds and bodies and peace to their souls. Help them to know they are never alone and always loved.

May all of us be willing to hear and follow the words of Jesus and choose love. In his name we pray, Amen.

GPS Insights

Chris Holliday

Chris Holliday

This week's prayer tip is by Chris Holliday. Chris joined the Resurrection staff in 2009 and currently serves as the Connection and Care Pastor and Director of Adult Discipleship at Resurrection West.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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