As Christians, we’re called to love our enemies. One way to express that love is by praying for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44).
It’s natural for us to pray for those stranded in Afghanistan or to pray for those dealing with the aftermath of a natural disaster. But, if we truly are to love our enemies, that means loving the boss or co-worker who takes advantage of you, and yes, even religious extremists like the Taliban.
Whenever we’re wronged or observe injustice—whether being slandered against or watching in horror as the Taliban takes over Afghanistan—we must refrain from giving ourselves over to hatred and contempt.
Instead, let’s meditate on these 15 Bible verses that command us to pray for our enemies.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
1 Timothy 2:1-2:
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
If I have rejoiced at the ruin of him who hated me, or exulted when evil overtook him (I have not let my mouth sin by asking for his life with a curse)[.]
Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles[.]
1 Peter 3:9:
Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
Romans 12:14, 17-19:
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse . . . Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.
When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Do not say, “I will repay evil”; wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
If you are willing to partner with us in praying for Afghanistan, visit our Afghanistan action page.
Editor’s Note: All verses are from the ESV translation.