Pray for You

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"Bah! This song? AGAIN?"

These were my thoughts on my way to class as I listlessly flipped through radio stations filled with stale repeats, hoping to land on a song that I had heard less than a zillion times already. And, after some persistent button-mashing, I did.

The opening verse caught my attention. A man was singing about how he hadn't been to church in a long time, and how recent events had driven him back to services. The preacher gave a message about how it's important not to hate others who have done us wrong and how instead we need to pray for them.

I was listening along, thinking, "Okay, so far, so good. This might be a decent song."

Then I heard the chorus:

I pray your brakes go out runnin' down a hill;
I pray a flowerpot falls from a windowsill
And knocks you in the head like I'd like to.
I pray your birthday comes and nobody calls;
I pray you're flyin' high when your engine stalls.
I pray all your dreams never come true;
Just know wherever you are, honey, I pray for you.

My eyes about popped out of their sockets. I'd heard songs about breakups before (read: about 90 percent of all country music!), even about cheating partners, but this was something new. This was complete and total unfettered animosity toward another human being. A summarized chorus could read:

I keep asking God to kill you,
Or at least make your life totally miserable.

"Clever" songwriter

This isn't just a song complaining about being hurt. This is a song that says "it would be great if you were dead or wallowing in despair." I can only imagine the songwriter thought he was being clever when he penned the lyrics—after all, Christ told us to "pray for those who spitefully use you" (Matthew 5:44), and that's technically what the narrator is doing.

But let's look at more of what Jesus said. He told His disciples to "love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:44-45).

Being sons and daughters of God—and reaping the rewards that come from that—means more than just not hating those who do us harm. It means actively loving them and praying for their good. It's an attitude and a mind-set completely foreign to the narrator of "Pray for You" (along with many others), but completely essential to the Christian way of life.

Way of life

God calls us to something better than feelings of revenge and anger. Rather, He offers us a way of life that gives us peace of mind in the present and an unshakable promise in the brightest of all futures. (For more about this future, see "How You Can Enter the Kingdom" from our free booklet The Gospel of the Kingdom.)

In the end what it all comes down to is this: We can choose to live a life where we nurse our hurts and injustices into a continual state of bitterness and anger, or we can live a life that allows us to let go of the wrongs that we've suffered and move on to bigger, better and far happier things.

The choice is ours. VT