How to pray for those who hurt you

Unforgiveness means holding a grudge against someone. Usually people who are hurt hold on to a grudge because they believe that they are completely justified. When someone hurts you, the Bible encourages you to forgive them, but it is not an easy task.

When someone who is especially close to you hurts you, either physically or emotionally, it makes you to be easily consumed by bitterness and revenge. You cannot stay that way forever. It is unhealthy for you. It will affect your mental health, your productivity and your general outlook toward life. However, if you are sincerely planning to move on with your life, then you have to seriously consider forgiving that person who hurt you. When you have been hurt, the last thing you want to hear is that you need to forgive that person, but a wiser approach would be to take all of that hurt that you experienced and turn it into something positive. There are many aspects to consider become making the ultimate decision to forgive someone who has hurt you. You have to acknowledge the reason for your forgiveness; if you are forgiving them for yourself or for them.

This is because some people take pleasure in hurting others as they themselves have been carrying hurt or anger with them for years. They often love to project all that hurt and anger on someone else, even when they know it’s not fair on the other person or it is not right to do so. They will bully or harass you, say mean things to you or snap at you just for them to have the upper hand. Most people feel the pain they cause when they hurt others. So they avoid hurting others in order not to also inflict pain on themselves. This shows us that there may be two basic reasons why people may harm the harmless. It is either they lack empathy or they enjoy feeling the pain of others. Another common reason people harm the harmless is because they are seen as a threat.

Philip is a 45 year old man who works in a disaster relief organization in Michigan. He is an African migrant who left the shores of his home country as a teenager for the United States in search of a better life. His mother had died while giving birth to him. His father was advised to marry quickly so that his infant son and toddler daughter would be well cared for by a new mother. Philip’s father was hardly ever at home. He was a travelling trader who returned home for a few days in a month to see how things were going at home. When his father was around, his stepmother made sure to give them the love and care they deserved. As soon as their father left, he and his sister would be beaten, locked out and starved of food.

One day, his sister now ten years old, saw some green plantains growing in their late mother’s farm. They hadn’t eaten in two days and were very hungry. They plucked a few fingers and cut them into tiny pieces to make some broth. They had only a little salt to make the broth taste fine. Philip and his sister left the plantains to cook on a firewood stove at the back of their hut and went into the nearby bush to pluck some aromatic herbs they’d throw into the pot. By the time they returned, the pot of plantains had disappeared. They searched for it everywhere but couldn’t find it. Tired, weak and hungry, the children fell to the ground crying. A few neighbours who heard their cry came over to see what was wrong. They searched for the pot and finally found it dumped deep down into the family pit latrine which was a few yards away from their hut. It was their stepmother who did it. She said she was angry because the children cut the plantains without her permission. The neighbors were shocked and reminded her that the children had the right to cut the plantains because it belonged to their late mother.

The ill treatment did not stop. It got so bad that the children decided to run away from home. They ran to the nearby city where some nuns in a convent took in his sister to live with them after hearing their pathetic story. Philip was sent to live with the church catechist. The church sent him to school on scholarship. He graduated from high school and got a scholarship to study at a university in Alabama. He returned to his home country two decades later to spend Christmas with his relatives. His father was dead, but his stepmother was still alive. She limped towards him to hug him. She looked very old and frail. The next morning, she called Philip and his sister to talk to them. She never in her wildest dreams imagined that those two waif-like motherless children would turn out to become so successful with their lives. She told her stepchildren that she regretted not loving them as her own, because if she had loved and cared for them when they were little, they would have felt obligated to care for her in her old age. She then begged for their forgiveness. Philip’s sister, Agatha was very reluctant to forgive. She reminded their stepmother of the long nights they were abandoned hungry and starving in the cold. “What if we had died?” she asked, “Would we be here to care for you?” It is easy to understand why it was really hard for Agatha especially, to let go. She was a child forced to act like a grownup to care for and protect her younger brother. She practically lost her childhood to become his mother.

The church had always been a strong pillar of support to Philip and his sister. It was to the church that they turned to for counseling and prayers. They were told that it was possible to forgive others and still feel hurt. The process of letting go will take time but it is important to forgive those who hurt us because God commanded us to and so that bitterness can never take its root in their hearts. They both went through a process of prayers and were able to completely heal and forgive their stepmother.

Prayer Points

  1. Heavenly Father, it is written in Your word that whenever we stand praying, we should not hold anything against anyone, but forgive them so that You our Father may also forgive us. Therefore, I receive the grace to forgive (call their name) of what they have done to hurt me so I can also receive forgiveness from You to walk this life blameless in Jesus mighty name, amen.
  2. Lord Jesus, you taught us to forgive our brother or sister who sins against me, not seven times but seventy-seven times. Lord, I am seriously struggling with obeying this instruction, not because I wish to disobey You, but because I cannot bring myself to look past the hurt and betrayal. I find it difficult to push those feelings aside and just forgive. Lord Jesus, I desire not only just to obey a part of Your word, but to obey every part of Your word. Help me to overcome what I am going through and stand on top of it. Help me o Lord, to get rid of all my negative emotions in Jesus mighty name, I pray amen.
  3. Lord, I know that it is not my place to withhold forgiveness from others because Your word says if we do not forgive others their sins, You Father, will not forgive my sins (Matthew 6:15). So Lord I ask for the grace to let go of the grudge that I hold against (call their name) because I know that I may err even now and in the future and will need Your mercy and Your forgiveness as well. I ask this in Jesus name, amen.
  4. Lord, I understand that people who are quick to hurt others do so because of an abusive or traumatic past. They project their bitterness on their innocent victims who in turn absorb the bitterness and project it on someone else. I break this vicious cycle in my life and in the life of (call their name) in Jesus name! From today, (Call their name) will lose the habit of acting nonchalant toward the feelings of people and will hate to hurt them in Jesus name! I will also not absorb any negativity to become a part of this vicious cycle in Jesus mighty name, amen!
  5. Lord, I pray for inner peace that passeth all human understanding. Speak peace and calm into the heart of (call their name.). Put his/her mind at rest. Fill his/heart with the joy of Your kingdom that they will overcome the spirit of bitterness and need to hurt others in Jesus name, amen.

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