If we are to truly love others as Jesus asked us to, we must respond to persecution and mockery with grace and humility – and turn the other cheek. God calls us to love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, bless those who curse us and pray for those who abuse us. We should not respond to hatred with indignation, anger or fear, but with love, grace and forgiveness – remembering that Jesus said: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”
John 15:18-19 ESV “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
A prayer when we face persecution for our faith
“Dear Heavenly Father,
I confess that many Christians have not represented Jesus well. Please forgive us.
Exodus 20:7 ESV “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
I also confess that it is painful when people, especially those whom we feel close to, mock and deride us for our faith. I feel wronged and misunderstood. Jesus, I take heart that You said that the world hated You first. Thank you for showing us that You understand our hurts and disappointments.
Psalm 34:18 ESV The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
At this time, I would especially lift up (name of persecutor) to You and ask that You please bless him/her with greater peace and hope, that whatever happened to cause this person to hate You and Christians will be redeemed one day for Your glory. May whatever lies and hurts the enemy has placed in his/her life be removed and healed in the mighty name of Jesus.
Luke 6:27-28 ESV “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
I ask for opportunities to bless and do good to him/her, not for my sake but for Your glory. Please surround him/her with godly Christians who will be good representatives of Jesus.
I ask in the name of Jesus that his/her heart will start to be softened towards You and that he/she not look only towards people for answers but ultimately towards God and God alone.
If a fellow believer or I have misrepresented You in the past to my friend/enemy, please give us opportunities to humbly ask for forgiveness and reconcile with him/her.
2 Corinthians 5:19-20 ESV that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
Convict our hearts and give us the wisdom to know how to respond to his/her persecution with self-control and composure.
1 Peter 4:7-8 ESV The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
For every attack I receive from (name of persecutor), I choose to be supernaturally loving and generous, and respond with the humility, grace and provision of Christ.
Proverbs 25:21-22 ESV 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.
I will remember that the battle is Yours, oh Lord, and that I should not make this about myself. Please help me remember that You use all trials and persecution as opportunities for people to see the love of Christ through me. Help me to see this as a blessing and an opportunity to thank You and praise You.
1 Peter 4:12-14 ESV Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
Help me not to fall for the patterns of this world; which are selfish, proud, abusive, brutal and without self-control. I am weak, but I know You promised me that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
Philippians 4:13 NLT For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength
I submit my heart and mind to You, so that You can show me Your will and purposes in all my encounters with (name of persecutor). Let me be a living sacrifice who glorifies You. May Your will be done!
Romans 12:1-2 ESV I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
In Jesus’ name, amen.”
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