Saturday, July 31, 2010

Pray For Your Enemies

Here is another excerpt from Chaplain Patrick Mclaughlin's book, "No Atheists In Foxholes" that I love reading in.

- But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. -Luke 6:35, The Bible -

I have seen firsthand what our enemies can do and are willing to do. I have visited the injured, prayed with the dying, and conducted memorial services for those who have been killed. And yet I am called to pray for my enemies.
When civilians are purposefully chosen as targets in order to send a message of terror, when innocent women and children are killed, I am still called to pray for my enemies.
Day after day the wounded pass through the doors of ( ) where I am stationed, and still I am called to pray for my enemies.
I cry out to God, "How long, O Lord? How long?"
I wear a cross on my uniform to work every day. I am the person in the midst of these warriors who represents this radical gospel ethic. There are times when I question God...There are doubts and frustrations.
Praying for our enemies takes more strength than cursing them does. Preaching to a military congregation about praying for our enemies during times of war is much harder than offering a sermon on the noble virtues of a warrior. Yet this is part of the gospel, a command of Christ, that runs contrary to the values and desires of the world.
But I cannot-WE cannot- ignore our duty to pray for our enemies. If we do not pray for them, who will? If we harbor only hatred for our enemies, what becomes of our hearts?
Pray for your enemies especially when it confounds you. Double your prayer efforts when such prayer becomes difficult or painful. Triple your efforts when someone close to you is killed in war and you curse the war and those who brought grievous heartache into your life.
Evil cannot be overcome by evil. Only love can overcome evil, and by loving we show that we are children of God.
Pray for your enemies...especially when you feel you cannot.

 - Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven. -Matthew 5:43-45

O God,
I pray for my enemies.
I do not want to be filled with hatred
and hardness of heart.
I pray for my enemies.
I can find no other way to heal the wounds
in my soul caused by war.
I pray for my enemies.
Doing so can run counter to the mission
of the military that I work with.
I pray for my enemies.
Bombs and bullets have not made them go away...
I pray for my enemies.
I do not want to, but I must...
Grant me courage and strength, O God.
I pray for my enemies-
so that we might live in peace.

So be it and amen.

Chaplain Patrick Mclaughlin, CDR, USN

Thank you, Chaplain, for a beautiful and heartfelt meditation.

(all photos in my blog article are from Google Images)

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