Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – February 6, 2015
Pray for the One I Like Least . . .
Today’s prayer suggestion caused some surprise, even anxiety. Just as yesterday, I stared at the open page for some seconds.
And, yes. I immediately thought of one person I don’t like very much. I hesitate to say I like this person least, because I can’t quantify my “liking” so exactly. However—I know that God wants me to write about this person. So, okay, God. I will. I’ll be obedient to Your leading.
The prayer guide suggests that I try to see something of God’s goodness, love, life, truth, and beauty in this person. This person is a child of God. Much beloved of God. God’s everlasting arms are reaching out to hold this one just as much as God’s arms are reaching out to hold the people I pray for each Sunday in the pastoral prayer at my church.
I don’t want to cause any discomfort or commotion, so I will be careful not to identify this one. But I know that God has gifted this person with skills and spiritual charisms, just as God has given them to every believer. God has called to this one and given specific skills and direction.
I do not wish any ill on this child of God. Quite the contrary! However—I still have periodic resentment in my heart toward this person. So, what to do about the resentment?
My go-to book for many of these problems happens to be the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. On page 552, in one of the stories in the second part of the book, there is a pertinent paragraph. The person writing the story is flipping through a magazine and sees the word resentment in an article written by a clergyman. Here is the paragraph:
“He said, in effect: ‘If you have a resentment you want to be free of, if you will pray for the person or the thing that you resent, you will be free. If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free. Ask for their health, their prosperity, their happiness, and you will be free. Even when you don’t really want it for them and your prayers are only words and you don’t mean it, go ahead and do it anyway. Do it every day for two weeks, and you will find you have come to mean it and to want it for them. You will realize that where you used to feel bitterness and resentment and hatred, you now feel compassionate understanding and love.’ It worked for me then, and it has worked for me many times since, and it will work for me every time I am willing to work it.”
My gracious. God, really? Is it that simple? Of course, if I don’t really mean the prayer, this remedy through prayer won’t be very effective. I suppose this is what the author meant when writing “it will work for me every time I am willing to work it.”
Dear Lord, help me to ditch the resentment I feel in my heart toward this dear one of Yours. Yes, Lord, help me to pray every day for two weeks for this person. I know what this paragraph from the Big Book says—I’ll eventually feel “compassionate understanding and love.” I’m not even pushing for love! Compassionate understanding would be very helpful. And, a relief. I’ll shoot for that, if You please, God. Thank You for Your leading, Lord. In Jesus’ name we all pray.
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