Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Martin Luther King Jr.

loving your enemies - martin luther king jr. - 1957

Oh God, help us in our lives and in all of our attitudes,
to work out this controlling force of love,
this controlling power that can solve
every problem that we confront in all areas.
Oh, we talk about politics;
we talk about the problems facing our atomic civilization.
Grant that all men will come together and discover
that as we solve the crisis and solve these problems,
the international problems,
the problems of atomic energy,
the problems of nuclear energy,
and yes, even the race problem;
let us join together in a great fellowship of love
and bow down at the feet of Jesus.
Give us this strong determination.
In the name and spirit of this Christ, we pray.

- Martin Luther King Jr. - 1957

copied from Christian Stories Online

Friday, September 7, 2007

Thomas More - last prayer before execution


ALMIGHTY GOD, have mercy on N. and N. (with special meditation and consideration of every friend, as godly affection and occasion requireth)


ALMIGHTY GOD, have mercy on N. and N., and on all that bear me evil will, and would me harm, and their faults and mine to-gether, by such easy, tender, merciful means, as thine infinite wisdom best can devise, vouch-safe to amend and redress, and make us saved souls in heaven together where we may ever live and love together with thee and thy blessed saints. O glorious Trinity, for the bitter passion of our sweet Saviour Christ. Amen.

Lord, give me patience in tribulation and grace in everything to conform my will to thine: that I may truly say: Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in coelo et in terra.

The things, good Lord, that I pray for, give me thy grace to labour for. Amen.

From English Prayers and Treatise on the Holy Eucharist , by Thomas More, edited by Philip E. Hallett (London: Oates and Washbourne, 1938).

copied from Thomas More Studies

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Enemies aren't lovable (by definition)

by Susan Mark Landis
August 15, 2006

Lord, the hardest thing you asked
Was that we love our enemies. (Matthew 5:44)

We know how we'd like to love them:
We'd love our enemies to be far away.
We'd love them not to compromise our security.
We'd love them not to scare us or change the way we live.
We'd love them to be lovable.

You know, God,
We'd love it to be popular to love enemies.
We'd love our neighbors to respect us for this good deed.
We'd love the people on the news to provide examples of how to love.

But then, if loving enemies were easy,
Jesus wouldn't have told us about the tax collectors and gentiles,
Who love only their friends. (Matthew 5:46-47)
If loving enemies were easy, we know
We wouldn't need God's strong arms to bear us up in difficult times.
We wouldn't need the blood of Christ to save us from human sin.
We wouldn't need the Spirit flowing among us, wiping our tears.
We wouldn't need the Bible to tell us what the world does not.

God of all mercy,
Who loved us when we were your sinful enemies, (Romans 5:8)
Who saved us through your immeasurable grace,
Who gave us a gift we did not deserve,
Let us imitate you by loving those who are yet our enemies. (Ephesians 2:1-22)

Teach us to know how to love enemies,
To wish them the best of the life you intend each human to have,
And then pray and act so those wishes come true.
Teach us hope, so we know that with your blessing, impossible dreams become reality.
Teach us faith, so we know that only the strength to stop hating will halt the cycles of violence and revenge.
Teach us forgiveness, which we know is suffering love through piercing tears.
Teach us, O Lord, your ways.

When our community looks at our congregation,
Hears our words and sees our deeds,
Help them to know that you, the God of love, live among us
And that they can come to us to learn about Christian love of enemies.

(Thanks to Mary Ellen Meyer for sending me this prayer/meditation.)

A prayer for enemies

by Tom Beutel
September 21, 2004

(The following is a prayer that the author led with the faculty of the university in which he teaches, in January 2003 before the start of the Iraq war.)

Lord God, sovereign God of the universe, savior and deliverer,
we pray first that you would help us by the indwelling of your Holy Spirit to take our refuge in you and not in our own strength or plans.
We pray that you would help us to resist the temptation to usurp your role, and to allow you to deal with each person, even those who do evil to us,
according to your knowledge and your designs.

We earnestly pray for all who would do us harm.
Help us to understand in what ways we may be provoking the hatred of our enemies;
help us to understand the frustration or desperation that may lead some to strike out against others;
help us to love and not to hate;
help us to want to pray for our enemies, for their salvation.

We know that you do not wish for any to perish.
We ask that your mighty presence be with those who embrace terrorism, and with their leaders.
We pray especially for Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.
Lord, we do not ask that you would assist them in their aggressive actions,
but that you would open their eyes to you,
and that you would soften their hearts until they repent and embrace the Lord Jesus Christ.
May it be in our lifetime that we could call these men brothers in Christ.

In the name of Jesus your Son we pray,

Thanks to Mary Ellen Meyer for sending me this prayer

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sid Lovett

O God, Who art kind unto the unthankful and to the evil, and sendest Thy rain on the just and the unjust: send forth into our minds, we beseech Thee, the spirit of Thy Son, whereby we may acknowledge Thee to be the Father of all men, and may from our hearts pray for our enemies, not that their will, but Thine, be accomplished in them, even as we pray that Thy will and not ours be done in us. So shall we all be children of the Highest, abounding in hope through the power of the same Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

copied from NCCUSA

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Prayer for Our Enemies (by Fenton Johnson)

ALMIGHTY FATHER I am praying for my enemies!

Almighty father lift up my enemies.
Almighty father be as a honeycomb to my enemies.
Almighty father be to my enemies as the moon to the young lovers
in the June of life.
Almighty father be to my enemies as the voice of Gabriel laughing
in the Heavens.
Almighty father be to my enemies as the smiling face of God.
ALMIGHTY FATHER be to my enemies as the Song of Israel when
the hosts assembled for the evening.
Almighty father be to my enemies as the breath of the Holy One.
Almighty father be to my enemies as the Day is to the soul of
the wayward child.
Almighty father be to my enemies as the Light is in the night of despair.
Almighty father be to my enemies as the love of a Christian for
the Church of God.
Almighty father deal with the white South as I would have you
deal those who hate me for they know not what they do.

copied from ChickenBones: A Journal

A collect (written by Andrew Harnack)

O God, in your mercy You have promised to deliver suffering and oppressed peoples from the hands of those who hate you; as we live between Your command to love our enemies and Your promises to undo those who murder, rape, and pillage the innocent, we ask that You fill those who are evil with shame that they may seek Your name and repent of their evil; seeking to be obedient to your will and forsaking every personal desire for retaliation, we implore You to execute Your divine justice for the sake of those who suffer oppression; within the Company of Heaven and in the love and justice of Christ, we offer ourselves and these petitions through the same Jesus Christ, who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit forever.

copied from Anthrakia

Thursday, August 23, 2007

St Nicolai of Zica

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.
Enemies have driven me into Thy embrace more than friends have. Friends have bound me to earth, enemies have loosed me from earth and have demolished all my aspirations in the world. Enemies have made me a stranger in worldly realms and an extraneous inhabitant of the world. Just as a hunted animal finds safer shelter than an unhunted animal does, so have I, persecuted by enemies, found the safest sanctuary, having ensconced myself beneath Thy tabernacle, where neither friends nor enemies can slay my soul.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.
They, rather than I, have confessed my sins before the world. They have punished me, whenever I have hesitated to punish myself. They have tormented me, whenever I have tried to flee torments. They have scolded me, whenever I have flattered myself They have spat upon me, whenever I have filled myself with arrogance.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.
Whenever I have made myself wise, they have called me foolish. Whenever I have made myself mighty, they have mocked me as though I were a dwarf. Whenever I have wanted to lead people, they have shoved me into the background. Whenever I have rushed to enrich myself, they have prevented me with an iron hand. Whenever I thought that I would sleep peacefully, they have wakened me from sleep. Whenever I have tried to build a home for a long and tranquil life, they have demolished it and driven me out.

Truly, enemies have cut me loose from the world and have stretched out my hands to the hem of Thy garment.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.
Bless them and multiply them; multiply them and make them even more bitterly against me. So that my fleeing to Thee may have no return; so that all hope in men may be scattered like cobwebs; so that absolute serenity may begin to reign in my soul; so that my heart may become the grave of my two evil twins: arrogance and anger; so that I might amass all my treasure in heaven; ah, so that I may for once be freed from self deception, which has entangled me in the dreadful web of illusory life.

Enemies have taught me to know what hardly anyone knows, that a person has no enemies in the world except himself. One hates his enemies only when he fails to realize that they are not enemies, but cruel friends. It is truly difficult for me to say who has done me more good and who has done me more evil in the world: friends or enemies. Therefore bless, O Lord, both my friends and my enemies.

A slave curses enemies, for he does not understand. But a son blesses them, for he understands. For a son knows that his enemies cannot touch his life. Therefore he freely steps among them and prays to God for them.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them. Amen

-- St Nicolai of Zica

copied from Orthodixie

Two Orthodox prayers

Thou Who didst pray for them that crucified Thee, O Lord, Lover of the souls of men, and Who didst command Thy servants to pray for their enemies, forgive those who hate and maltreat us, and turn our lives from all harm and evil to brotherly love and good works. For this we humbly bring our prayer, that with one accord and one heart we may glorify Thee Who alone lovest man.

As Thy first martyr Stephen prayed to Thee for his murderers, O Lord, so we fall before Thee and pray: Forgive all who hate and maltreat us, and let not one of them perish because of us, but may all be saved by Thy grace, O God the all-bountiful.

copied from Orthodixie

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Prayer for Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day)

Lord, remember not only the men of good will, but also those of ill will. But do not remember all the suffering they have inflicted upon us. Remember rather the fruits we have brought, thanks to this suffering: our comradeship, our loyalty, our humility, the courage, the generosity, the greatness of heart that has grown out of this. And when they come to judgment, let all the fruits we have bourne be their forgiveness.

Source: Found on a scrap of paper at the liberation of Ravensbruck Concentration Camp in Germany


For our Enemies

The Eleventh Prayer:

For our Enemies

Forgive all our enemies, those who can still be helped, as well as all the abominable and evil antagonists who do not know what they are doing, who are still hating us so very much and [46] and wishing evil upon us -- continually deriding, forcing and persecuting, lying and deceiving, and also judging and damning the innocent, etc.

Concerning all of these whom you still want to convert, and whom you want to bring to grace: forgive them their sins and misdeeds, since they do not yet know what they are doing, nor are they aware of the violence they have done to us -- or might still do, before their conversion.

We ask this for the sake of your holy name: Do not hold this against them for our sakes, but convert them and us together, according to your holy will, as soon as it may please you.

(From: Prayer Book for Earnest Christians, A spiritually rich Anabaptist resource, translated and edited by Leonard Gross, pp. 44-45)

Prayer for the Pacification of Animosity

Let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.
We thank You, O Master, Lover of Mankind, King of
the ages and Bestower of good things, Who
destroyed the dividing wall of enmity, and granted
peace to the human race, and Who now has granted
peace to Your servants. Instill in them the fear
of You and confirm in them love one for the other.
Extinguish every dispute and banish all temptation
to disagreement. For You are our peace and to You
we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages
of ages. Amen.

(from The Book of Needs, published by St. Tikhon's
Seminary Press, South Canaan, PA 18459)

Commemoration prayer from St. Tikhon's Seminary

Save, Lord, and have mercy on those whom I have
caused to stumble, turning them away from the path
of salvation and leading them to evil and unseemly
deeds. Return them to the path of salvation by Thy
Divine Providence.

Save, Lord, and have mercy on those who hate and
offend me, and do me harm. Do not let them perish
because of me, a sinner.

An Orthodox Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, Who didst command us to love
our enemies, and those who defame and injure us,
and to pray for them and forgive them; Who Thyself
didst pray for Thine enemies, who crucified Thee:
grant us, we pray, the spirit of Christian
reconciliation and meekness, that we may heartily
forgive every injury and be reconciled with our
enemies. Grant us to overcome the malevolence and
offences of people with Christian meekness and
true love of our neighbor. We further beseech
Thee, O Lord, to grant to our enemies true peace
and forgiveness of sins; and do not allow them to
leave this life without true faith and sincere
conversion. And help us repay evil with goodness,
and to remain safe from the temptations of the
devil and from all the perils which threaten us,
in the form of visible and invisible enemies.