Abba, Father, I pray for people who don't like me,
people who think I'm a jerk,
a poor leader,
an awful pastor,
a rotten friend,
a pathetic human being,
a dreadful, dangerous sinner.
You know how much I would love
to pray for you to prove them wrong.
But that prayer might in itself fulfill their worst beliefs about me.
So instead, I pray:
bless them, Lord.
I name them, right now....
Bless those I forgot.
Bless those I'm not smart enough to recognize as among that company.
Pour out your goodness on them, Lord.
Heal ___'s hurts.
Give peace to ___.
Fill ___'s heart with forgiveness and grace and kindness.
Make ___ ten times the man I am.
Give ___ a renewed sense of purpose and a renewed awareness of your favor.
Pour out such a blessing,
such mountains of kindness on these your children--
and bring about such growth in grace in my life--
that their low opinions of me
will totally evaporate in the glory
and beauty of what you do in their lives
and in mine,
in Jesus' name, amen.