First, pray for your own heart
Most of us don’t naturally have the capacity to pray for those who inflict such evil. We’re blinded by our own hate and pursuit of justice. To pray for those who greenlight persecution—like North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Eritrea’s Isaias Afwerki, Iran’s Ali Khamenei and so many others—we must first pray for ourselves.
We need to humbly and sincerely pray that God will miraculously transform the hate in our hearts to hope by the work of the Holy Spirit.
Paul went on to write nearly half of the New Testament; however, we’re first introduced to him in Acts chapter seven when he’s presiding over the stoning of Stephen—a Christian. Paul had Christian blood on his hands, but still God would overtake him and use him for His good.
In Acts chapter nine, on the road to Damascus, Paul has a single encounter with Jesus that radically impacts his life and the lives of billions of Christians to come. God was able to take a man’s heart—filled with evil and blackness—and use him to passionately expand His kingdom on earth. And what did it take? A single encounter with Christ.
For us, let’s remember God is still the God of miracles. He continues to heal the sick, restore relationships and alter lives. When it comes to praying for dictators and wicked rulers, let’s remember God can turn their hearts with a single encounter.
Instead of hate, pray to be filled with the hope that can only come from Him. There is no earthly cure for malevolence, but God can change lives in the blink of an eye. As He created the heavens and the earth with only words from His mouth, He can turn a heart from stone to flesh just as easily. When we pray, let’s first pray God will remind us of His awesome power, so we might be filled with hope instead of hate.