A Prayer For Saul

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” ~ Acts 9:1-4NIV

We all know the story of Saul’s encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. We know how a light flashed around him, a voice called to him, and he went blind. We know the story of Saul, but do we know why he was going to Damascus in the first place? Saul was a Pharisee. A man against the Church. A man seeking to destroy the teachings of Jesus and all who followed them.

Saul was on his way to Damascus to try to imprison and take back to Jerusalem all the followers of Christ that he could. His heart was bent on evil when Christ brought him to a halt on the road to Damascus. See, God’s desire isn’t that any should perish, but all come to acceptance. God doesn’t pleasure in the destruction of the wicked. No. God says that He sent His Son into the world to save the world. Not some of the r world, not half of the world, but all of the world. That was God’s desire.

So when He saw an opportunity to save a soul that thought he was doing the will of God by persecuting and silencing the Church, God took the opportunity. Today, God is still looking for the opportunity to save souls, regardless of their past. God’s desire is to redeem us. That’s why we who are saved must pray earnestly for those who persecute us. We must pray earnestly for those who curse us. We must pray earnestly for our unsaved loved ones as well. Who is to say if Steven crying out to forgive those men stoning him wasn’t heard by God and answered when He called to Saul that day?

Communism was rampant in Russia. The Christians were locked in prison and mercilessly tortured for their faith. Their children were killed in front of them. Their wives were beaten and raped. But even then, they prayed earnestly for those same men who tortured them. And when communism turned on those men, and they were locked up in prison, those same men they had persecuted treated them with love and kindness. They gave them their bread to eat as a tithe to the LORD. Communism no longer plagues Russia. Who is to say that Russia’s freedom today isn’t the fruit of the labor of those praying Christians?

Dear LORD, please forgive me for all of the hatred, anger, and unforgiveness I’ve stored up in my heart over the years. Help me to not hold grudges even when I have a good reason to, according to earthly standards. Please help me to forgive people and love people the way You forgive and love. Please forgive those who persecute me, curse me, and say all manner of evil against me. Please save their soul and have mercy on them. Please redeem them from darkness into Your everlasting Light. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

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