January 23, 2021 | Jamie Rohrbaugh, IFA Contributing Writer
Have you been wondering why you should intercede for people you don’t like? Have you been at a loss for words for HOW on earth to pray for people whom hate God and hate everything He stands for?
If so, I want to encourage you today with the Word of God—and equip you to pray in power even for people you don’t like.
First, why should you pray for people you don’t like?
This is the easiest question we address today: we pray for people we don’t like because Jesus commanded that we should. For example, in Matthew 5:43-48, Jesus told us:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father 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.
For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
The Word of God is clear that we should pray for people we don’t like—even for people who persecute us. But why? WHY would the Lord command us to do such a thing?
The answer is twofold:
- According to Matthew 5:43-48, obeying God in this area makes us like Him. After all, each and every one of us were God’s enemies before we gave our lives to Jesus. Yet, God in His mercy forgave us. We deserved to die in our sins, but Jesus gave His own life for us while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8); while we were still the enemies of God.
- We are to pray for people we don’t like because our prayers open the door on the earth for God to move.
Psalm 115:16 tells us: “The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; but the earth He has given to the children of men.”
This means that the Lord has delegated stewardship of the earth to us. Jesus has ultimate authority, but He has made us His “middle-managers,” if you will. And since He has delegated stewardship over the earth to us, placing us in authority over it, He needs us to pray and ask Him to move in order for Him to have permission to move on the earth. (For more about the authority delegated to us, read President Biden’s Administration and the Sovereignty of God.)
This is why your prayers are so important, even when you’re praying for someone you don’t like.
But you don’t have to pray the same way for the ungodly as you do for the righteous—and that’s a big key to effective prayer.
When you’re praying for the righteous, you can and should pray for all the blessings to come into their lives that God promises to the righteous! After all, they meet the conditions! Anyone who is obeying God has the right by covenant to receive all of God’s blessings!
But people who are not obeying God do not meet the conditions to receive His blessings. For those people, therefore, we must pray differently. We pray:
- For them to be saved and give their lives to Jesus, for it is not God’s will that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
- We ask the Lord to change their hearts and make them aware of their need for Him.
- We ask Him to convict them of their sin; to show them Jesus, so they will know what righteousness looks like; and to convict them of judgment, showing them that there is no hope or future in their sin.
- We ask God to loose Heaven into their lives and that He would change their hearts so that such a blessing is even possible.
- We pray that the Lord would bind them and prevent them from doing evil.
John 16:7-11 says this:
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”
Holy Spirit’s job on the earth is to convict the world—to convict both sinners and the righteous—of their sin; of what righteousness looks like and why they need to be righteous; and to convict them of judgment. Therefore, our prayers along these three points release Him and give Him permission to work in this way among the wicked.
Additionally, however, we also need to pray to bind evil. As an intercessor for the great nation of America, this means:
- We ask the Lord to give us righteous leaders.
- We ask the Lord to remove any leader who is not leading the country into the ways of God.
- We ask the Lord to restore the great Restrainer of evil—Holy Spirit Himself—into our governments at every level (including at the local level), so that evil will be restrained and prevented.
- We ask the Lord to compel our leaders to walk in the ways of God and speak the words of God, even if they have zero intention of doing so.
Remember the story of Balaam in Numbers 22? Balaam was paid by a wicked ruler to speak curses over Israel. However, the Angel of the Lord—whom the Bible indicates is the preincarnate Christ—came personally to stand against Balaam, saying: “Behold, I have come out to stand against you, because your way is perverse before Me” (Numbers 22:32b). In this passage, someone who claimed to be from God was exposed by the Lord Himself as walking in perversity, and God Himself came to stand against him!
However, the story didn’t stop there. The next day, even though Balaam’s way was perverse, God placed His own words in Balaam’s mouth and he spoke a major blessing over the people of Israel—despite that fact that he had begun his journey and been paid to do harm to God’s people!
Wow! What a story!
We actually see scenarios repeated over and over like this in the New Testament. One after the other, pagan kings rise up in the nations around Israel—but God uses them to accomplish His own purposes toward Israel. Yes, sometimes those purposes are for discipline. Sometimes, however, God uses the pagan kings for the preservation of His people … and sometimes He converts them.
The ways of God are perfect, and they are past finding out.
This doesn’t mean we should ever agree with lies or injustice.
We should never turn a blind eye to evil. We should never “look the other way” and ignore anything that goes against the Word of God.
As it says in Isaiah 8:20: “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” We have to remember this: our convictions, prayers, and conversations must remain 100% aligned with the entirety of God’s inerrant, infallible Word—the Bible.
But it does mean that we must pray for our leaders, for our family and friends, and for everyone else—whether we like them or not.
We must ask the Lord to accomplish His purposes in them and through them. We must remember:
- That God loves sinners as much as He loves His children;
- That the heart of God breaks whenever He sees anyone caught up in sin; therefore, we must pray in sympathy with His heart so that His plans can come forth.
When we see things from God’s perspective, it suddenly becomes easier to pray that His Kingdom would come and His will would be done on earth—even in the lives of people we don’t like—just like His will is done in Heaven. When we are willing to admit that God can work even the plots of men out for the good of His people and His Kingdom, then it becomes easier to pray along those lines.
Again, the people we are praying for don’t have to have any intention of honoring God in order for God to use them. God is able to use people, nations, and kingdoms for His purposes even when the people are completely unaware that He is doing so.
So beloved, in these trying times, I encourage you: Don’t fall into sin by refusing to pray for those who hate you. Let’s respond rightly, in accordance with God’s Word, whether you are faced with a neighbor you don’t like, a friend who mistreats you, or a national situation or leader you’d rather not pray for.
Anything less is rebelling against God.
The truth is that we, as intercessors are not accountable for the actions of people for whom we pray. However, we are accountable for responding rightly, and for obeying God in personal holiness by yielding to His command to pray.
Therefore, beloved, if you are dealing with someone who hates you, please understand that God loves them too. Pray that righteousness and justice, which are the foundations of God’s throne, would be established in your life and in the lives of every person around you. Pray for every person and situation in sympathy with the heart of Jesus, that Jesus would no longer be grieved.
And as we pray, let’s believe God together that He really meant it when He said:
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Check out this warning about not praying from leaders from an IFA intercessor: I’M NOT GOING TO MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE AGAIN
Jamie Rohrbaugh is an author and speaker who equips people to walk in the manifest presence and power of God. Jamie blogs for a global readership at FromHisPresence.com, where she writes about radical prayer, the prophetic word, the supernatural lifestyle, inner healing, and Kingdom wealth. She is a frequent contributor to Charisma Magazine, The Elijah List, Spirit Fuel, and various other ministry outlets. You can download her free ebook containing 555 names of God for prayer and worship here(Photo Credit: Unsplash.)