The Practical Life of Jesus Christ and His Apostles:
The practical life which Jesus Christ and his followers (apostles/disciples) led does not support the practice of praying against enemies and asking for their death/downfall/misfortune. Consequently, those who indulge in such act cannot justifiably claim to be Christians, the followers of the foot steps or examples of Jesus Christ. The disciples/apostles of Jesus Christ did not do that. The following practical examples will drive the point home.
1.) Praying for Enemies: Even at his crucifixion, Jesus Christ did not pray against those who were crucifying him. He did not curse them nor command death to befall them even as he could have done so if he had wished, owing to the amount of spiritual powers he possessed. On the contrary, Jesus Christ prayed for those who crucified him by asking God to forgive their sins. See Luke 23 v. 34. Considering the amount of spiritual powers at his disposal, had Christ been a carnally minded man, like the modem ‘Christians’ in context, he would have simply commanded fire to consume those who came to kill or crucify him. He did not do that because it is ungodly and satanic to do so.
2.) The healing of the servant of the high Priest: As a demonstration of his stand against vengeance and his support for love of one’s enemy, Jesus Christ healed the ear of the servant of the high priest whose ear was cut off by the sword of one of the disciples of Jesus Christ, during the arrest of Jesus Christ by those who later crucified him (Christ). See Matthew 26 v. 51-53, Luke 22 v. 49-50. This act of Jesus Christ is definitely not one that is in support of praying for or rejoicing at, the death/misfortune of an enemy. As Jesus had the power to restore the cut off ear, He equally had the power to kill his abductors/attackers. He did not do the latter because that is inconsistent with His (Christ’s) gospel.
3.) Saul’s Persecution of the Christians: Even as Saul persecuted the disciples/apostles of Jesus Christ and took part in the killing of some of them in a bid to frustrate the gospel of Jesus Christ, none of the disciples/apostles prayed against him Also, Jesus Christ did not kill him, even as he spiritually had the power to visit Saul with death if he (Christ) had wanted to do so. See Acts 8 v. 1-3; 9 v. 1-3,26 v. 1-
29, I Timothy 1:12-13. Had Jesus Christ killed Saul at that time, it would not have been possible for the later (as Paul) to have helped in the missionary work of Jesus Christ and the spread of the gospel as he did. Had that happened, Paul would not have written the many books of the Bible which he wrote. True Christianity dictates that we pray for the repentance of our enemies ( sinners) and not for their death. After all, God does not rejoice at the death of a sinner but rather that a sinner should come to repentance. and live
4.) Imprisonment of the Apostles: Even when the high priest and his followers, for no just cause, laid their hands on the apostles and put them in prison, the apostles did not pray against the high priest and his followers. See Acts 5 v.16-33.
5.) The Martyrdom of Stephen: Similarly, even during the arrest, imprisonment and persecution of Stephen, he did not curse or pray for the death of his abductors/ assailants/accusers. Even at the point of his martyrdom, he prayed for his killers and asked God not to lay this sin on their charge. See Acts 6 v. 9-15, 7 v. 54-60. It is noteworthy that the disciples merely took the corpse of Stephen for burial. They did not pray for the death of the assailants/killers.
6.) Imprisonment of John the Baptist: In the same vein, in the course of his missionary work, John the Baptist was arrested and imprisoned. He did not pray for the death/misfortune of those who arrested/imprisoned him. This is because to do so is unchristian. See Luke 3 v.19-20, Matthew 14 v. 1-12.
7.) Persecution, Assault, Arrest and Imprisonment of Paul & other apostles: The Bible is replete with instances of persecution, assault, arrest and imprisonment of Paul and the other apostles of Jesus Christ, in the course of propagating the gospel of Jesus Christ. See Acts 12 v. 1-19, 14 v.19-20, 16 v. 19-40, 18 v. 12-17,21 v. 27-40 & 22 v.I-30. In none of those instances did Paul or the other apostles pray against or for the death of those who did the said wicked acts against them. Had praying to kill an enemy been part of Christianity, Paul or the other apostles/disciples of Jesus Christ would have done so against their enemies (attackers). So, in those instances, they (apostles/disciples) did not do because that is the antithesis of Christianity.
Christians are urged not to indulge in the vice of praying for the death or misfortune of their enemies but to pray for their well-being and repentance as that is the true spirit of Jesus Christ. Any one without that spirit of Jesus Christ is not of him. Romans 8 v. 9. Conclusively, the scriptures enjoin Christians to “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see God” See Hebrews 12 v.14.
Elder Uwom wrote from Port Harcourt