How do we love our enemies? We start with this.
I’m angry. I’m angry at ISIS.
I feel hate towards them. I hate what they’re doing to the world. I hate that they murder and rape and torture and ruin lives and families and homes. I want them to go away and stop hurting people. I want them stopped.
And I open my Bible and the Lord says,
“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” (Luke 6:27-28)
But how Lord? How do I love a group of people who hate and murder and rape and torture others? How do I love ISIS?
And the Lord gently leads me to this first thing: pray for them.
It is an act of love to pray for my enemies.
“When I got saved and I was told my mentor to start reading by the book of Matthew, start with the book of Matthew, when I got to reading to Matthew 5:43 and 44, where the Word of God says, “[You have heard it said] love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but I say to you, love your neighbors and pray for those who persecute you.” Love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you.
It shocked me and I knew the Lord was speaking to me. I jumped out of my seat and I screamed so loud saying, “No way! Lord, I will never love them.”
I know what He was saying to me. Love the Jews. I was giving all the excuses for the Lord, why I will not love them. They took my house. They killed my people. They’re still persecuting us. And after I got tired talking, the Lord started speaking to me in my ear saying, ‘They have done more than that to Me, but I still love them.'” -Tass Saada, author of The Mind of Terror (You can listen to Mr. Saada and hear his story on Focus on the Family radio here.)
God loves the leaders of ISIS, each one of the them. And if we want to see change, we must get on our knees for them. We must pray for the leaders of ISIS.
If you’re not sure how to pray, pray this:
Lord, help me to see the individuals of ISIS as beloved by you, as those created in your image and worthy of your healing and transformative power. I pray for these ISIS leaders that they would have a revelation of Jesus, that their eyes would be opened and they would turn to You. I pray you would speak to them personally, intimately, in their dreams or through friends or through a prophetic utterance from someone. You know all the deep places of their hearts; you know the wounds, the histories, the anger, the hurt. Would you speak to them in those places? Would you show them who you are, and how much you love them. Please choose them, bring them to an understanding of your love. Lift the veil from their eyes that they would see you. And please Lord, give them a tenderness for the people they are hurting; soften their hearts; let them see. I pray they would repent and reject terror. I pray, that like Paul, they would have a Damascus-like experience and turn fully to you, and begin to lead others to love and follow you. I ask this in your name Jesus, Amen.
As you pray daily for these leaders (in the car, as you wake up, as you go to sleep – whenever they come to mind), you can begin praying for their families, those they influence, and however else the Spirit leads.
We are not helpless, and we are certainly not hopeless. We fight with words and groans, and we have an advocate that is working on behalf of our prayers. And that advocate, Jesus Christ, changes hearts. So pray pray pray.
Pray and act. Click HERE to tangibly help those who have been victimized by ISIS.