When You Are Ready To Move Forward
Several years ago, I was on staff at a church as the youth pastor. Conflict developed between the senior pastor and me and it made my life miserable. Eventually, I was fired without even being told the reason. I was cut off from our church and the friends I had there. I was hurt. I had been lied to and lied about. The worst of it was that there seemed to be no way to fix it.
Anger consumed me.
At the time, someone told me about “car prayers.” Think of the car this person drives, they suggested. Then, every time you see a car like that, pray for them. Pray that the Lord blesses them.
The pastor of the church that fired me drove a white Ford Exhibition. I determined to pray for him every time I saw one of those on the road. Suddenly, I saw a bunch of white Ford Exhibitions!
Eventually, the more I prayed, the more my anger subsided. It no longer mattered wether or not I was ever proven right or the pastor ever got what was coming to him. In fact, the more I prayed, the more I saw my own faults and was able to become a better minister.
Jesus said, “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 sons of your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:43-45a, ESV)
Love for your enemies is not natural. It it not natural to want the best for someone that has hurt you. It requires supernatural intervention. We can love others when we are secure in our identity as sons and daughters of God (fellow heirs with Jesus in the spirit of adoption). From that security, we can begin to see others the way Jesus sees them. We see them as loved and forgiven, just as we are loved and forgiven. This is why when Jesus tells us to love our enemies, he then tells us to pray for them. We can pray even when we don’t love and in doing so, we invite the Holy Spirit to intervene.
Are you harboring a grudge against someone? Has someone hurt you and you find it impossible to let it go? Start with some “car prayers” and see what the Lord can do!
Have you found that praying for someone makes it easier to forgive them? Share your story here!
Aaron Davis is the author of the novel Street Preacher and of the upcoming memoir, Baggage Claim: One Minister's Journey Through Depression to Peace. For information on inviting Aaron to speak to your church or organization, click here.
Aaron Davis is an author, speaker, and life coach. He currently lives in Springfield, MO with his wife and their two sons. He also serves as a hospice chaplain.