But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.~Matthew 5:44 ESV
Would you like to discover a prayer that can change hatred into love and painful memories into the freedom we find through forgiveness?
I’m talking soul restoration here, my friend, and divine love that permeates our souls so deep it changes the inner core of who we are. Are you game? Let’s explore.
My immediate attitude toward people who are mean, rude, or abusive to me is to seek revenge and justice. I want them to suffer the same pain they inflict on me. However, I know God wants me to love as He does. The Bible defines divine love in a single sentence, “God is love” (1 John4:8b KJV). His number one commandment is for us to love Him, and Jesus expounds on this by saying we must also love others as ourselves (see Matthew 22:38).
Our goal is to love as God loves.
As believers, God infuses and seals us with the Holy Spirit at the time of our salvation: “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5 ESV). The apostle John states, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19 KJV). So, we should love others, not just God. However, my attitude, at times, hinders me from fully loving as God loves. I need to forgive my abusers and see them as God sees them. I cling to my right to fight. I was wronged. I should be able to hold on to a grudge, right?
Oh, to obtain the inner peace Paul had propels us to love like God! Paul was flogged, shipwrecked, jailed, stoned. He endured pain because of his love for God and for lost people. We can have that kind of love. The Word of God changes attitudes—even though mine is obstinate at times. If you relate, I understand.
To apply these truths Paul knew, I combined some of his sayings into a prayer I’ve named, “The Surgical Prayer.” In it, I’ve paraphrased truths from Ephesians 3:17–20, 1 Corinthians 13:4–8, and Philippians 1:9–11. When I pray this, the sword of the Word lances my tumors of sin, transforming my hatred into love and my pain into possibilities. I believe it will do the same for you:
The Surgical Prayer
Lord God, I pray that out of Your glorious riches You would strengthen me with power through Your Spirit in my inner being so Christ may dwell in my heart through faith, that I would be rooted and established in love—Your love that is patient, kind, not envious, boastful, rude, or proud–Your love that keeps no record of wrongs and never fails. May I have the strength to comprehend the breadth, length, height, and depth of Your love for me and for others, and may I know the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge. I pray this so that my love may abound more and more with wisdom and depth of insight so that I can discern what is best and be found blameless on the day of Christ. Now to You, Lord—who can do beyond all I ask or imagine, according to the power at work within me—be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever.
This prayer seems like a mouthful at first, but when we earnestly pray and believe these biblical truths, it causes a radical change in us. Imagine knowing the full extent of God’s love so completely it becomes part of us. Imagine the impact on our attitudes when His love takes over our speech, thoughts, and actions. We don’t have to wish for this; we can have His divine love within us just as Paul did. But to achieve this, we must exercise love and make it stronger by presenting God’s Word as a prayer we personally receive.
As I pray and seek the face of God, He makes me keenly aware of His love for me by giving me an overwhelming sense of joy, peace, and acceptance. The power of God’s love in me continues to melt the hatred I once wanted to hang onto. Over time, I feel no animosity toward the ones who’ve left emotional scars. I even pray for them. I no longer wait for the day I could laugh when something bad happens to them. Instead, I have compassion for my accusers.
Friend, we have no excuse for hatred, vengeance, or complacency. We can have the power to love others because we are a child of the King, greatly loved by Him, and as we spend time in God’s presence, meditating on biblical truths, we become like Him and so does our love. The reality is, love is not only an emotion; it is a decision to obey God and receive the truths of His Word, for He is the personification of love.
Will you join me and choose to love others, no matter how painful this seems at first?
Lord God, I was wronged, and the scars went deep. I trust that Your Word will give me the desire to forgive and have an attitude of love. I can’t do this without You. In fact, I can only do this through You. Thank You for pouring Your love into my heart. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Copyright 2021: The Surgical Prayer: Cherrilynn Bisbano: All Rights Reserved