Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper. Jeremiah 29:7
Going into exile was a difficult thing for the Israelites of Judah to do. As they are going into exile, God now tells them to settle in and serve their enemy. Then on top of that God tells them to pray for their enemy to prosper. His reason for praying for the enemy to prosper is that if the enemy prospers, so do the Israelites.
Praying for the enemy is something many Christians have no problem doing. However, it is how they pray for the enemy that is different. It is common to hear a Christian pray for his enemy that God would strike them down, or remove them. The focus is to change that person, so that one can have a better life. The problem with this type of prayer is that it is totally self-focused.
Years later Jesus would tell all believers to pray for their enemy and bless them, not curse them. Praying for the prosperity of your enemy is a blessing upon them. Doing this shows the enemy the love of God, not the hatred of people.
Not blessing your enemy will fall back on you in the same way. If the economy of everyone around you is failing, your economy will also fail. If there is no peace with everyone around you, then you will not have any peace either. If there is poverty all around you, then you will also have poverty.
No person can have peace or prosperity completely alone. It takes a community to have either. There will always be some in your community that will be your enemy–those who do not follow Jesus. If they do not prosper, you cannot prosper.
Along with physical prosperity, every person needs to know the love of Jesus. If you are praying against them and for their downfall, where is there any love in that? How will they know the love of Jesus, when all they see is hatred?
You may not always agree with your enemy, but you can pray for God to bless them and draw them closer to Him by His love and care. It is His kindness that will draw them to Him.
I pray today that you will know God’s love for your enemies; that you will show God’s love to your enemies; that you will be able to pray God’s blessings on your enemies; and that many will come to know Jesus through the love you show them.