“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4 ESV)
Praying for all people is the duty of all saints. There are no exemptions mentioned here. It is easy to pray for those who are friendly, but does your attitude change when Jesus tells you to love and pray for your enemies? This is where the eyes of God serves me well because I honestly have a hard time with that command. If anything, I would rather have them suffer consequences instead of having a fresh start with God. But Paul tells Timothy that the heart of the Lord is that everyone be saved and come to know the truth.
The Lord is able to spot within a person a subtle hint of remorse and wants to draw that out into full blown repentance. We may not be able to detect it from the outside looking in, but God can and only he can initiate the transformation. So perhaps that is the prayer we should offer up for those who appear hardened and incorrigible?
I often hear that when you pray for difficult people, your heart softens for them no matter how rotten they may be. The ability to see their hurt underneath their behaviors is truly a gift from God. You may find that your patience with them increases over time. Your prayer can be something simple like this:
“Lord, I don’t know what you see in this person. But help them come to know you on a personal level and see the truth in your gospel. In your divine wisdom, offer forgiveness and redeem them so that they may be transformed and offer their praises to you. Amen.”