I read this morning from a daily selection based on George Whitefield’s sermons. It started with a reference to 1 Peter 1:22: “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.”
Praying for others will fill your heart with love one to another. He that everyday heartily intercedes at the throne of grace for all mankind cannot but be filled with love and charity towards all. The frequent exercise of love in this manner, will insensibly enlarge your heart, and make you a partaker of that exceeding abundance, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord! Envy, malice, revenge, and such-like hellish tempers, can never long harbor on a gracious intercessors breast; but he will be filled with joy, peace, meekness, long-suffering, and all other graces of the Holy Spirit. By frequently laying his neighbors wants before God, he will be touched with a fellow-feeling of them; he will rejoice with those that do rejoice, and weep with those that weep. Every blessing bestowed on others, instead of exciting envy in him, will be looked on as an answer to his particular intersession, and fill his soul with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Abound, therefore, in acts of general and particular intercession; and when you hear of your neighbor’s faults, instead of relating them to, and exposing them before others, lay them in secret before God, and beg of him to correct and amend them. When you hear of a notorious sinner, instead of thinking you do well to be angry, beg of Jesus Christ to convert and make him a monument of free grace. You cannot imagine what a blessed alteration this practice will make in your heart, and how much you will increase day by day in the spirit of love and meekness towards all!
Of course, we could also use Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:44-45: “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
Is there someone you struggle with, even don’t like, at work, play or church? Pray for them.
Bottom line, I need to pray for people. Not just those I love, or even like, but especially those I don’t. By praying for them my attitude toward them will be changed by the Holy Spirit.