I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action. ‘Play actors’ acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. In prayer, there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. Stay alert; be in prayer so you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger. There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire. When you assume the posture of prayer, remember that it’s not all asking. If you have anything against someone, forgive them. Only then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins.
The moment we get tired of waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. I want all of you to develop intimacies with God in prayer, but please don’t stop with that. Go on and proclaim his clear truth to others. It’s more important that everyone has access to the knowledge and love of God in language everyone understands than that you go off and cultivate God’s presence in a mysterious prayer language. Prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. What I want most is for men and women to pray–not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God.