To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the Scripture referenced throughout.
After preaching the Beatitudes, Jesus tells us to love and pray for those who persecute us (Matt. 5:44). But that can feel like an impossible task: Why are evil, broken people—especially those who harm blameless believers for professing faith—deserving of our prayers?
Nonetheless, we should be encouraged to pray, knowing that both Jesus and Stephen did so for the people who caused their deaths (Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60). Think of their words as a reminder that even persecutors are created and known by a God who loves them just as much as He loves us. Remember, the Lord can radically and miraculously change the heart of anyone, even someone who seeks to wound His church.
Think About It
- Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28). How can we do that in today’s world?
- Are you able to consider those who persecute Christians as people God loves?