How can you pray for someone whom you do not love? This post will be answering this question today.
In the first place, why don’t you love this person if you are a Christian? The concept of love is emphasized strongly across the scripture in various ways. The Bible talks about God’s love for us more than our love for Christ. The Bible even refers to God as love. 1 John 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. Therefore, what do you have as a Christian if you do not have love? Nothing! Because if God is love and without God, you are nothing then, without love you are nothing. Hate is a strong word. Hate leads to un-forgiveness. Hate and un-forgiveness are a sign that one is still in the world of self, which means that you have not completely died to self. The greatest love ever known was Christ that he would give his life for you. He lay down his life for you. Scripture goes ahead to tell us greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for another. John 15:13.
So my question to you would be would you lay down your life for this person you are struggling to love? It would be very difficult. Jesus lay down his life because he loved the father enough to do his will and he loved you to the extent that he would lay down his life for you. When it comes to following Jesus, you have to forsake some things. The main thing that has to be forsaken is you- in what is referred to as dying to self in Bible terminology. Therefore, you cannot lay down your life if you do not love.
Dying to self is a process. It is the true sign that the old is gone and the new has come. This includes hate and un-forgiveness, which unfortunately most Christians struggle to live behind. Therefore, if this is you there may be some things that you may find difficult to proclaim about yourself such as Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ or Phil 2:1 for me to live is Christ to die is gain. Dying to self is the reason Christ said to love your neighbour as yourself Mark 12:31, love your enemies, and pray for those for persecute you Mathew 5:44.
The Bible says in 1 John 4:20-21 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must love their brother and sister. In 1 John 3:15 it says Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
With this knowledge how then can you pray for someone you do not love? My response would be to pray that God may teach you what love is because love comes from him and he is love 1 John 4:7-8. Pray that the lord may teach you to forgive because he first forgave. In this case, the person with the problem is not the one who you are angry with, the person with a problem is you. The problem is in your heart as that is where your hate is from. Tell God to give you a heart that loves and that is quick to forgive. Pray that you may be like Christ who died not only for those who love him but also those who hated him all because he loved them. One may ask is forgiveness the same as forgetting? No! It is not. Then how does one know they have forgiven? One knows they have forgiven if the thought or memory of the hurt no longer causes pain both emotional pain and spiritual pain. That means to pray for someone that you do not love has to begin by praying for yourself to learn how to love thereafter you can pray for that person. Your heart needs to be transformed to be able to pray for your enemies.
In conclusion, praying for someone you do not love is not possible but learning how to love and how to forgive is very possible. It is possible with the help of the Holy Spirit. It displays a level of selflessness. It shows that you no longer dwell on my hurt, my pain or my life but you focus on Christ and that you are ready to serve and love others.