It was the end of April when a friend shared that she was feeling ugly on the inside and wanted some prayer. I braced myself as I wanted to respond in love and not in shock to whatever she was about to say. My sweet friend went on to tell me there was a person in her life that annoyed her. Actually, this went beyond annoyance. This person made my friend want to scream. This person had continued to steal her joy over and over again. To make matters worse, this was a person she couldn’t remove from her life.
First, I told my friend that I was proud of her for reaching out. It’s hard to admit there is something ugly in our hearts. I then began to challenge my friend to pray for the person in her life for 30 days. Not just “Lord bless them” but true prayers that she would pray for a dear friend. I told her to pray for this person as she would pray for me.
As I challenged my friend, I felt the Lord whisper a name to my heart. It was the name of a person in my life who has made me crazy angry. Honestly, I felt justified in my feelings. This person has been rude and mean to me. I should have the right to be annoyed by this person. As I sat there trying to encourage my friend and ignore the name the Lord was whispering to my heart, I thought of Ephesians 4:3, NLV:
Work hard to live together as one by the help of the Holy Spirit. Then there will be peace.
There is no running from that verse. Another translation says, “Do your best to live in unity…” The minute I thought of this verse, I realized I haven’t been doing my best to live in unity with the name on my heart. So my friend and I decided to set aside the month of May (31 days) to pray for the people who made us feel ugly on the inside. We committed to daily praying a new Scripture verse over the person before our day could begin.
If that sounds easy, you are a better person than me. May 1 rolled around, and I lay in bed thinking of Scriptures to pray over the person.I couldn’t think of anything without turning it into a sarcastic thought. So I did a quick devotional on YouVersion and prayed the Lord would give me a Scripture. As I was reading my devotional, I read Psalm 83:17, TPT:
Make them utter failures in everything they do until they perish in total disgrace and humiliation.
I am not proud of this, but when I read that verse, I thought, “That’s it! I can for sure pray that over them.” This person had been awful to me. They deserved to fail in everything and to experience humiliation for the way they have treated me. Friends, I can’t tell you enough how terrible looking back at these emotions makes me feel. Sharing the ugly that is deep in our hearts isn’t easy, but how this story ends is just so good to share! So, just when I was ready to give up on praying for the person on my heart, I read Psalm 83:18, TPT:
So they will know that you, and you alone, are Yahweh, the only Most High God exalted over all the earth!
If you read the entire chapter of Psalm 83, you will see the author was pretty upset. Someone had wronged them, and they wanted to know what in the world God was going to do about it. However, the tune changes at the end of the passage with verse 18. When I read this verse, God stopped me in my tracks. I don’t know what happened to change the author’s tune, but it was probably a friend that encouraged them to pray for his enemies for 30 days!
All jokes aside, I realized that the person who was on my heart deserved to face complete failure, disgrace, and humiliation just as much as I do. My sins may look different from theirs, but I still have hurt others with my sin just as they have. However, the Lord has redeemed both of us, and neither of us will get what we deserve. God has so much more for both of us! So I began to pray.
On Day 3, I had a conversation with my person, and it went well. I didn’t escalate and didn’t feel like I wanted to punch things afterward. It felt like such a big win.
On Day 7, a couple of other people started to notice that I was treating this person differently. On this day, I felt as if I had achieved “super Christian” status. John 13:34-35, TPT was obviously written about me. It says:
So I give you now a new commandment: Love each other just as much as I have loved you. For when you demonstrate the same love I have for you by loving one another, everyone will know that you’re my true followers.
However, my new super status didn’t last long. On day 8, I struggled. The ugliness I have felt so many times before came back. On day 11, I was so frustrated. I didn’t think my prayers were changing anything. As a matter of fact, I was sure that things were getting worse. On that day, I reacted in a way that I wasn’t proud of to a tough conversation. I was ready to quit. However, I kept pushing through. I didn’t stop praying. The next time I saw that person, I apologized for my actions. It wasn’t easy.
On day 17, I was able to have a good interaction with the person without jumping to the normal conclusions I would have just 17 days earlier. On day 23, I had a conversation that actually helped me with what I was doing. Finally, on day 30, I actually enjoyed a conversation with the person.
I tried to focus on Scriptures that were blessings; however, on Day 21, I struggled to find a Scripture. I felt like I had prayed the entire Bible already (I realize how dramatic that sounds, but it was a tough morning). So I wanted to share the Scriptures that I prayed. You don’t have to use these Scriptures; it’s just a starting place.
One thing that worked for me was putting the person’s name into the Scripture I was praying. These Scriptures are from the New International Version (NIV) translation; however, I encourage you to look up the verses in other translations. Not only will it help you understand the verse better, but it will also give you more words to use to pray.
31 Days of Prayer for the Person Who Bugs Me
Day 1: Romans 15:13 ‐ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Day 2: Numbers 6:24‐26 – The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you…
Day 3: Ephesians 3:16‐17 – I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love…
Day 4: Zephaniah 3:17 – The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you but will rejoice over you with singing.
Day 5: Psalm 138:7‐8 ‐ Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me. The Lord will vindicate me; your love, Lord, endures forever—do not abandon the works of your hands.
Day 6: Psalm 25:21 ‐ May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you.
Day 7: Psalm 3:3‐6 ‐ But you, Lord are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side.
Day 8: Exodus 33:14 – The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Day 9: Psalm 94:19 ‐ When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.
Day 10: Jeremiah 29:11 ‐ For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Day 11: Romans 8:31‐32 ‐ What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Day 12: Romans 8:38‐39 ‐ For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Day 13: Proverbs 3:24 ‐ When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
Day 14: Isaiah 43:1‐2 ‐ But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
Day 15: Philippians 4:6‐7 ‐ Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Day 16: 2 Corinthians 9:8 ‐ And God is able to bless you abundantly,so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
Day 17: Psalm 20:4‐5 ‐ May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests.
Day 18: Psalm 23:1‐2 – The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters…
Day 19: Jude 1:2 ‐ Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.
Day 20: Ezekiel 34:26 ‐ I will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessing. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.
Day 21: Psalm 23:4 ‐ Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Day 22: Isaiah 54:10 ‐ Though the mountains be shaken, and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
Day 23: Psalm 112:7 ‐ They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
Day 24: Philippians 4:19 ‐ And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Day 25: Psalms 32:7 ‐ You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Day 26: Psalm 37:4‐5 ‐ Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this…
Day 27: Jeremiah 33:3 ‐ Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
Day 28: Psalm 118:14 – The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.
Day 29: Psalm 90:14‐15 ‐ Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble.
Day 30: 2 Thessalonians 3:16 ‐ Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
Day 31: Psalm 121:5‐6 ‐ The LORD watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. Psalm 18:35‐36 ‐ You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great. You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way.
On June 1, I woke up and prayed for my person again simply out of habit. I don’t pray for the person every day anymore, but I have prayed for the person off and on. I don’t know if I have achieved and hung on to “super Christian” status, but this was never about achieving super Christian status!
I realized that I can control myself in situations that are out of my control. I don’t have to react like a crazy woman just because the situation is crazy. I also learned it is okay to forgive and love from afar. Honestly, I am not ready to have lunch with this person, but the very sight of the person doesn’t make me want to scream anymore.
Today, if you are reading this and the Lord whispered someone’s name to you, I want to challenge you! Set 30 days aside and pray for that person. It’s not an easy challenge, but I know God will show up and move in unexpected ways!
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on borderless.blog/
Featured Image by Christian Fregnan