“When you pray for anyone you tend to modify your personal attitude toward him.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

It’s true. That’s why Jesus told us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). For us to sincerely pray for others, regardless of what we think of them, it will completely turn our attitudes toward them in new directions.

I say “sincerely pray” because the kind of prayer I mean is not the kind that takes all my feelings and changes them into a “prayer” that basically is trying to justify all my own wrongness. The sort of prayer I am talking about praying for others, and the kind of prayer I’m pretty sure Jesus meant, going by everything else He said and did, is to actually take time to think about that person and pray for them in whatever they might be going through. Think about their life and what hard times they may be in at the moment and really pray for that for them.

Jesus wants us to be like Him. Even in that same passage, just a couple of verses later, He tells us, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

To succumb to the desire to just have a bad attitude toward someone is to be so un-Christlike. It’s following the way of the old nature, the one that goes away when we are made new in Christ Jesus.

So.. for my attitude at others to change as I pray for them means that I’m becoming more like Jesus. Because, really, praying for someone I want to be mad at is something that only He can help me do.

I also love this quote:

“Life is an adventure in forgiveness.” ~ Norman Cousins

I love it because when I stop and think about it, he’s right.

If I see forgiveness as something I have to do, some requirement that I must check off a list, then that really makes me want instead to keep my attitude from changing. Because after all, if someone needs to be forgiven, they must have done something to hurt me… right? Or so my mind tries to tell me. So forgiveness would seem to be a concession on my part… some sort of giving in and acting like they didn’t hurt me.

When, in fact, that is not what forgiveness is about at all.

Forgiveness, rather, is about choosing to cancel the blame of what that person did to me. For me to forgive someone who has hurt me is for me to choose to look past what they did. Forgiveness says “I know you hurt me, and I choose to love you anyway.”

Jesus didn’t forget our sins when He died on the cross for them. He instead got rid of them and took that blame Himself. He chose to love us in spite of what we’d done.

Forgiveness is a willingness to love and look past what others have done to me. It doesn’t take away the hurt, but it does choose to see beyond that hurt. It doesn’t mean it will never happen again. Life is full of hurt and heartache, but it is also full of love and forgiveness. It’s up to me to choose what perspective I want to have, what I want to focus my attention on. Forgiveness or bitterness.. it’s my choice.

I am choosing to love and to forgive. I am choosing that over focusing on the hurt in my heart. I am choosing to modify my attitude toward those who hurt me through prayer and forgiveness for them.

To choose that kind of love… to forgive… truly is an adventure.

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Thank you so much for each prayer you pray for Jon and his family. Please keep on praising, praying, and believing as his next scans are coming up in May. If you’re not familiar or caught up with his story, I’ve tried to keep it up to date to help you out.