Focus: Praying for enemies

Before You Begin:

No prep is required this time!

The Prayer Time!

When you’ve gathered to pray together, read the following verse:

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”(Matthew 18:21-22)

Explain that some translations of the Bible say seventy times seven instead of seventy-seven times. Either way, this is a lot of times! Ask family members to explain what they think this verse means. Ask, “Have you ever forgiven one person that many times? Has someone had to forgive you that many times?” Then read this verse aloud:

“But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)

Talk about how Jesus not only wants us to forgive people who make our lives difficult, but he wants us to love them and pray for them!

Have each family member tell about one person that makes life difficult. This could be a mean kid at school, a “friend” who gossips behind your back, a boss or co-worker that makes work unpleasant, a neighbor who plays music too loud, or a teacher who seems to take pleasure in ridiculing you. Then ask family members how they feel about following God’s instructions and praying for these “enemies.”

Suggest that your family use the number seven (from seventy times seven or seventy-seven) as a reminder to pray for these people who make life harder. On every day of the month that has a seven in it (seventh, seventeenth, and twenty-seventh), encourage family members to join together in prayer for your enemies. Also take time during these prayer gatherings to share any ways you’re finding these prayers answered. How is God changing this person, your attitude toward this person, you, or the situation? How is God helping you to love your enemies?

As time (and days with sevens in them) goes by, you may find yourself and other family members taking some of these “enemies” off of that list, and adding them to your list of friends!

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