Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Prayer of Betrayal

Brian shared an interesting explanation of Matthew 5:48 from the sermon Jesus preached on the mountain. It has instructions for when we are slapped on the right cheek (insulted, hurt, degraded), which would be a slap from a superior to an inferior. We are to turn our left cheek to them and allow a second blow. This blow would be like a blow from an equal. Obviously, these are strange words in any culture. We do not enjoy allowing others to harm us. But, Brian encouraged us in the way of Jesus to take an approach of love. A way of knowing or living in the world that is explained only by love.

I had to ask a question. How is Brian able to embody this way of love in the midst of criticism and attack? He quickly responded that he has been praying a prayer since January of this year. It is a prayer written By Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic. Velimiroc was a Serbian bishop who spoke out against Nazism. In a private meeting with his fellow bishops he expressed that he did not agree with the Nazis. Shortly, he was arrested, and taken to Dachau prison. That meant that one of his friends, his fellow bishops betrayed him. And now here is the prayer that Brian has been praying – the prayer written by Nikolai Velimirovic.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them. Enemies have driven me into your embrace more than friends have. Friends have bound me to earth; enemies have loosed me from earth and have demolished all my aspirations in the world.

Enemies have made me a stranger in worldly realms and an extraneous inhabitant of the world.

Just as a hunted animal finds safer shelter than an unhunted animal does, so have I, persecuted by enemies, found the safest sanctuary, having ensconced myself beneath Your tabernacle, where neither friends nor enemies can slay my soul.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless and do not curse them.

They, rather than I, have confessed my sins before the world. They have punished me, whenever I have hesitated to punish myself. They have tormented me, whenever I have tried to flee torments. They have scolded me, whenever I have flattered myself. They have spat upon me, whenever I have filled myself with arrogance. Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.

Whenever I have made myself wise, they have called me foolish. Whenever I have made myself mighty, they have mocked me as though I were a [fly].

Whenever I have wanted to lead people, they have shoved me into the background.

Whenever I have rushed to enrich myself, they have prevented me with an iron hand.

Whenever I thought that I would sleep peacefully, they have wakened me from sleep.

Whenever I have tried to build a home for a long and tranquil life, they have demolished it and driven me out.

Truly, enemies have cut me loose from the world and have stretched out my hands to the hem of your garment.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.

Bless them and multiply them; multiply them and make them even more bitterly against me:

So that my fleeing will have no return; So that all my hope in men may be scattered like cobwebs; So that absolute serenity may begin to reign in my soul; So that my heart may become the grave of my two evil twins: arrogance and anger;

So that I might amass all my treasure in heaven; Ah, so that I may for once be freed from self-deception, which has entangled me in the dreadful web of illusory life.

Enemies have taught me to know what hardly anyone knows, that a person has no enemies in the world except himself. One hates his enemies only when he fails to realize that they are not enemies, but cruel friends.

It is truly difficult for me to say who has done me more good and who has done me more evil in the world: friends or enemies. Therefore bless, O Lord, both my friends and my enemies. A slave curses enemies, for he does not understand. But a son blesses them, for he understands.

For a son knows that his enemies cannot touch his life. Therefore he freely steps among them and prays to God for them. Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.

5 comments:

wendy said...

very strong and fruitful prayer... our best friends can easily become our worst enemy. As our Lord forgives us, therefore we must do the same. bE CAREFUL IN WHO YOU TRUST AND CONFIDE IN, AS THESE PEOPLE CAN TURN AGAINST YOU. TRUST NO MAN BUT OUR LORD FOR HE WOULD NEVER BETRAY US. I HAVE TRULY LEARNT THIS LESSON.

Anonymous said...

WE ALL NEED WORDS OF WISDOM, A DIVINE VOICE FROM ABOVE. IN TIMES OF ADVERSITY AND STRIFE, THERE IS ONLY ONE BEING THAT COULD SAVE US. HE IS OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, THE SOONER WE COME TO REALISE THAT HE WILL ALWAYS BE THERE AND NO MATTER WHAT SHOULD TURN TO HIM FIRST BEFORE SEEKING ADVICE FROM ANOTHER HUMAN BEING THE BETTER OF OUR LIVES WILL BE. DEAR GOD A PRAY FOR THIS WORLD THAT ALL THOSE WHO SEEK YOU WITH THEIR HEART AND SOUL, YOU COMFORT AND GUIDE THEM. FOR YOU SAID: FOR THOSE WHO KNOCK AT YOUR DOOR YOU WILL OPEN IT. MY FATHER WE ARE KNOCKING LORD AND AWAITING YOUR REPLY. GOD BLESS YOU ALL WHO SEEK HIM AND LIVE ACCORDING TO HIS WILL. ALWAYS REMEMBER TO SEEK HIM FIRST AND HE WILL PROVIDE AND FULFILL ALL OUR NEEDS.

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Leslie Lim said...

I would like to share it with all my friends and hope they will like it too.

Gail
www.imarksweb.org