I love new beginnings: a new school year or semester, a new blank journal, a new year. I say that I don’t like to make New Year resolutions but the truth is I often have some secret resolutions or plans. I might not label them as such but I know what they are. I think I like new beginnings because I like planning. I like lists and organizing and making a plan. But I’m not as good at the execution as I am at the making of the plan.
So far the plans swirling around in my head are the usual: walk more, exercise more, eat better, read more, write more. But the one thing that I think might actually have the most impact is the one thing I am least excited to do.
At church on New Year’s Day we had a guest pastor who preached from Ephesians on prayer. During the sermon he talked about praying for our enemies. Not just praying “Lord, make that person less rude.” Or even, “Lord help me to love that person better.” But to actually pray for them. For their salvation, for prosperity and peace in their lives, for health and happiness.
Something about that idea struck me like a blow. I was also convicted to think about who my “enemies” are. I think the word enemy sounds so harsh to modern ears. I don’t want to call anyone my enemy. I might say in my mind that I find someone difficult or I might just think that we aren’t meant to get along with everyone but surely those aren’t enemies, right?
Maybe it’s just words but I think by refusing to admit to myself that I do see certain people as opposed to my happiness and really as enemies than I am also refusing to admit that these are the very people in my life that I am called to pray for. So I somewhat reluctantly made a resolution to pray for my enemies.
So far I have to admit that it’s been crazy hard. It’s amazing how resistant I am to praying for good things for the people in my life that I find the most difficult. I keep finding myself reverting to sneaky ways of asking God to change the person to make them less annoying to me. And then I sort of get dragged back to what I am supposed to be praying for.
I don’t know what God is going to do with this resolution and I have to say that even though I think it will be good I kind of dread it. Even more than exercising more.