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I have a confession. On more than one occasion I’ve been petty. I wish I could say this behavior is relegated solely to my my teenage years, but ashamedly, it has crept into adulthood.
Intentionally and without even thinking, I’ve examined situations from my restricted viewpoint and consequently labeled other women as enemies. Of course, I have never actually said these words out loud, but I thought them. I’ve formed assumptions about their actions and believed them to be true. Knowing this about myself, I know I need to pray for my enemies. But more importantly, I need to ask myself, who is my enemy? Who is my true enemy? When I stop to consider this, I know how to better direct my prayers toward the ultimate enemy of my life.
If she didn’t call me back I assumed she wasn’t my friend. If she appeared to snub me at an event I reasoned she was two-faced. And if she didn’t invite me to her gathering, I assumed we weren’t friends anymore.
This is not to say it’s all been presumption. Some of these experiences weren’t just fabrications of my mind; they were real. I’ve been on the receiving end of gossip, slander, snobbiness, and shade.
And it would seem that the women who treated me this way belonged in the enemy category. Their actions were unkind, undeserved, and unwanted. They were the proverbial mean girl: the women we all love to hate.
Thus, I should be justified in deeming them enemies. Although rational, what I’ve come to realize is that another woman’s behavior, whether real or imagined, does not make her my enemy. She is actually just a smokescreen for my true adversary.
He is the one we don’t often talk about; but he exists. We live in a practical-teaching-megachurch-age, where words like demonic have almost been omitted from the vocabulary of the average church goer. We look at the evil in our world and attribute it to moral decline, explicit music and inappropriate prime time television.
We do this while forgetting that Scripture reminds us who our enemy is. “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV). We are not only informed of his existence but we are told definitively how he attacks.
In John 8:44 we read “…He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
Many of us find it easier to acknowledge the existence of an omniscient God without embracing the reality of a diabolical enemy. When we do acknowledge the Satan’s presence, it is often tainted by Hollywood’s interpretation: teetering between extremes. Either he’s the man in a red catsuit with horns perched on the shoulder of an indecisive actor, or he’s a quick witted superhero fighting crime in an Italian suit. Neither persona is accurate, duping us into believing Lucifer is predictable, likable, and not that bad.
God’s Word however, reminds us that we are in a spiritual battle. Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Satan is described as a deceiver, a hunter and a killer whose sole purpose is to annihilate his prey, us. And he will stop at nothing to accomplish this task.
Which explains why we are so easily bamboozled into thinking another woman is our enemy: that is the devil at work. If given the opportunity, he has the power to impact every area of our lives: that childhood hurt, lingering habits, dangerous temptations, weight loss (or the lack of it), hang-ups, a sweet tooth, jobs, children, marriage and most certainly, female relationships.
Because of this reality a prayer for our enemies should actually be a prayer for ourselves that we might see clearly who our real enemy is. This does not mean we completely dismiss the actions of those around us but we do so with the understanding that their behavior is heavily influenced by our formidable foe. Consequently, this truth helps us to fight in a way that will make a difference: on our knees.
Help me to accept and acknowledge that Satan is my true enemy and not those around me. When I am wronged unjustly, help me to relinquish my right to hold another person responsible for the wrong they have caused me. Lord, may I remember the truth of your word in Psalms 135:14 that says you will vindicate me. Even though I am tempted to repay evil for evil, please help me to choose to fight my battles on my knees: believing that my struggle is not with another human being but with the devil and my own flesh. Grow me in Christ-like character and help me to become a woman who possess the fruit of the spirit. May I become a woman who is mature, wise, and has a sound mind.
In Jesus’ Name,
This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.
Kia Stephens is a wife and homeschooling mama of two who is passionate about helping women know God as Father. For this reason, she created The Father Swap Blog to be a source of encouragement, healing, and practical wisdom for women dealing with the effects of a physically or emotionally absent father. Each week through practical and biblically sound teaching she encourages women to exchange father wounds for the love of God the Father. Download Kia's free ebook, Hope for the Woman With Father Wounds here. Additionally, you can connect with Kia on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.