Lifted Book Study | Week 3, Chapter 7

How Praying for Your Enemies Helps You

Here’s your fair warning: Grab a Kleenex for this chapter. (If you’re anything like me you may need to just go ahead and grab the box.)

We are designed for relationship. As humans, we crave connection. And when our most important relationships are damaged by hurt, betrayal, misunderstanding, or neglect, mending them can be almost painful as the event(s) that caused the damage. But if we are able to get past that pain, something beautiful awaits on the other side.

And that’s where prayer comes in. Prayer helps us get through the hurt. When we pray with hearts that are open to God’s leading, we are changed in the process; our fears are stilled, and our hearts are softened and strengthened.

Praying for those who’ve hurt us—be it a parent, a spouse, child, friend, or stranger—isn’t a natural response to pain. But as Lindsey discusses in this chapter, it can lead to forgiveness of others and of oneself.

As she shares the experience of reaching out to mend the hurt in her relationship with her father, she says, “By taking that one step toward forgiveness, I began to see more clearly how fears had crept into my life and tainted everything.”

Deep pain affects every area of our lives. We can try to compartmentalize our pain—but the fact is that pain will always bleed into other relationships. Moving toward forgiveness, even if we’re only able to take one baby step at a time, puts us on a healthier path.

Staying on that path is the trick. Lindsey writes:

“Leaning into and living in forgiveness rather than fear, however, wasn’t a one-time decision; it’s a daily action. You can decide to forgive, just like you can decide to lose weight, but until you put a meal plan and a workout regimen into action, it’s just a decision. To lose weight, you have to do the work of exercising and eating right—and it takes time to see the results. The same is true of forgiveness.”

Take some time today to journal and pray about someone in your life whom you need to forgive. That person may even be you. Ask God to help you experience the forgiveness and peace that only He can provide.