Logos: Jeremiah 29:1-7
These are the words of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the remaining elders among the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. (Jeremiah 29:1-7)
How often are you somewhere you don't want to be? Imagine being in exile outside of your country in a place where you think God is not. Jeremiah tells those in exile to make their homes where they are - build houses, plant gardens - settle down in this place. And then, what really strikes me is the last verse: Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare."
They are in exile because the people from the place where they are living now have forced them to be there. They are living among their enemies. God is telling them to pray for the best for their enemies, for in that, they will find their own welfare.
Could you do that? Will you do that? Will you pray for God to bring the best there is to the lives of your enemies? Who are you most unwilling to pray for? That is the person God wants you to lift to God in pray, asking for God to bring the very best to that person. How in the world can we do that? And why would that bring the best to us?
I imagine it is hard to pray for someone you call your enemy and remain unchanged. Perhaps that is one of the reasons we don't want to do it. Perhaps we don't want to be changed that much, but God tells us that our good welfare lies along that path.