My ex was born in the month of April. He was someone that ill-treated me and rejected me after destroying my life or what seemed so. I lost almost everything from my relationship with God to my emotional state of mind to my physical health and worst of all I fell into suicidal depression. I was literally crushed and broken down that I almost died. It’s by God’s grace I’m still alive today after all I went through.
I don’t want to go into the details but I dreaded his date of birth because of the memories they brought to me.
I’ve struggled with forgiving him for over a year. I prayed about it and released forgiveness to him various times. But after then, I would still find seeds of bitterness and anger in my heart. And these seeds will start growing again till it became full blown. It was like a tree deeply rooted such that when you cut it down, it grows again because the root is still there.
So I knew this has become a battle that needs to be fought in the spirit on a regular basis. I had to take up the challenge by praying for my ex daily, asking God to bless him, praying for specific things for him and asking God to give me the grace to forgive him.
And so, I had to release forgiveness daily to him in prayers till that root is finally uprooted. I had to keep praying so that the seed will not be planted again.
But I didn’t like that idea. After all I had gone through because of my relationship with him, the only thing I wanted to do was to forget everything about him; I didn’t even want to remember that he exists. And now I have to keep praying for him every day which obviously means he would be on my mind constantly and I can’t forget about him.
But a day before his birthday, I got a revelation from the Scripture. It was from Job 42. Job’s friends did not speak the truth about God as Job did. God told them to go to Job and offer a sacrifice for themselves; and Job will pray for them, and He will answer Job’s prayer on their behalf and not punish them as they deserve. Job was to pray and ask God not to treat his friends as they deserve.
Now, let’s note that in the earlier chapters, these friends felt that Job was afflicted because of his sins; they felt he was guilty. Instead of offering words of comfort to him, they kept on adding to his pains, grief and sorrow. Their words were tormenting him rather than bringing comfort to him. His friends laughed at him. His closest friends looked at him with disgust and those he loved most turned against him. In fact, one of his friends, Eliphaz in chapter 22 began to name what he felt were Job’s offences.
Meanwhile, Job was righteous and blameless, yet his friends treated him badly. After everything his friends did, Job was expected to pray for them so that God will pardon them.
And Job prayed and interceded for his friends and the Lord answered his prayer. After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again, restored his fortunes and doubled it.
I don’t know but my thoughts are perhaps if Job didn’t pray for his friends, God may not have made him prosperous again or given him twice as much as he had had before.
The way I understand that Scripture is that Job’s restoration and prosperity was tied to him interceding and praying for the very people who had scorned him.
How difficult it is to pray that type of prayer – not praying for their death but for their welfare. But Job did it even though God had not yet restored his fortunes. It would have been easier to pray that prayer if God restored his fortunes. But even in his moment of affliction and despite what his friends did to him, he prayed for them.
I guess this was easy for Job because even in the past, he had never been glad when his enemies suffered, or become excited when they met with disaster, or laugh at them when bad things happened to them (Job 31:29). He never sinned by praying for the death of his enemies; he never cursed them or wished for them to die (Job 31:30).
There are so many benefits we get when we forgive others. Forgiveness is for the benefit of others (just as God forgave Job’s friends) and it’s also for your benefit (just as Job became prosperous again and even got twice as much as he had had before). When we forgive others, God forgives us and answers our prayers. (Matthew 6:14-15; Mark 11:26). You’re doing yourself a favour by praying for, blessing and forgiving those who hurt you.
Knowing that I have a lot to gain from praying for my ex gave me the passion and joy to pray for him. Initially, I was eager to pray for him because of the benefits but on a second thought, I realized that it’s not about the things I stand to benefit. The major reason I should pray for him is because God forgave me of my sins, God forgives me every time I sin and as a child of God, I should be merciful as my heavenly Father is merciful.
And so, on his birthday, I wrote down a prayer to God imploring blessings upon him and praying for his happiness and welfare. Here’s what I wrote:
“Today is XXX birthday. Please bless him. Grant him his heart desires according to Your will. Hear his prayers and answer him. Relieve him of his worries and save him from all troubles. Please provide for him, may he never lack any good thing. Protect him and his family. Grant him favour in Your sight and in the sight of men. Cause doors to open up for him and may he always rejoice.
Change him inside with a new way of thinking. Renew his mind, cause him to focus on godly values and ethical attitudes. Help him to recognize what You want from him and help him to quickly respond to it.
Give me the grace to forgive him, to let go and get rid of every hateful felling in my heart towards him. Uproot every seed and root of anger, bitterness, hatred, malice and grudge in my heart.”
That day, I was overwhelmed with so much happiness and joy. I didn’t feel the past hurts and pains at all unlike his last birthday. I felt refreshed and relieved; it felt good to be free from that bondage of unforgiveness. I found myself laughing out loud that day even though I was all alone in my house; one would even think I was mad. But that’s how happy I was.
This is only the beginning as I would still be praying for him as often as I can. I’ve made a decision to pray for him even though I don’t mean it; I will pray till I mean every word. I don’t know when I will stop praying for him, but for now, I’ll continue praying for him so as not to give the devil any chance.
Dear friends, I don’t know who hurt you or offended you. I don’t know who treated you badly or wronged you. But the more you hold unto those hateful feelings, the more you’re hurting yourself. Refusing to forgive them is at your detriment.
If you’re struggling to forgive someone, if you’re struggling to let go of hateful feelings towards them, take up the challenge of praying for that person. Continue praying; don’t stop praying for them until you feel an overwhelming peace in your heart. And if you feel those seeds of bitterness, hatred and anger are growing again in your heart, go back to prayer.
Keep praying for those who hurt you and mistreat you not because you want a physical reward but to get an eternal reward- the reward of eternal life.
I’m telling you from my experience, there’s great joy and satisfaction you get when you pray for those who ill-treat you; you will be refreshed, relieved and you will be filled and overwhelmed with inner peace and joy.
I encourage you to join me on this journey as we pray for those who have hurt us, treated us badly, wronged or offended us.
I’ll conclude with a Scripture I just read this evening as I prepared to post this article:
“Invoke blessings upon and pray for the happiness of those who curse you, implore God’s blessing (favor) upon those who abuse you [who revile, reproach, disparage, and high-handely misuse you].”
Luke 6:28 (AMPC)