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5 People You Must Pray For (Even Though You Don’t Want To)

3. People who openly mock the Christian faith.

When I think of people who openly mock the faith, I think of the secularists, I think the late-night comedians who make sport of the gospel. I think of the pop culture icons who detest Jesus: Bill Mahr, Jon Stewart, Richard Dawkins.

The knee-jerk reaction to mockers is to mock back. To come up with an equally witty response. To create a Facebook page with a bold Christian statement and have 10,000 people like it to make us feel better.

But maybe, maybe, we should simply pray for them. I think of Jesus’ attitude on the cross toward the mockers. He said, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

What should we pray for them?

For the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts to find salvation in Christ. Think of Saul of Tarsus. He had heard the sermons and mocked them. He held the coats of those stoning Stephen, the first martyr. He actively pursued Christians to put them in jail and even to their deaths. And yet God radically pursued Paul on the road to Damascus and he became the Apostle Paul.

Maybe today’s mocker is tomorrow’s evangelist. Have we considered that?

So let’s pray for those who mock the Christian faith. By doing so, we not only avoid the sin of bitterness in our own hearts, but we demonstrate that God’s sovereignty and power is not weakened by the open hostility of those who oppose Him.

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Daniel Darling is the Vice President for Communications for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (ERLC). For five years, Dan served as Senior Pastor of Gages Lake Bible Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and is the author of several books, including Teen People of the Bible, Crash Course, iFaith, Real, and his latest, Activist Faith. He and his wife Angela have four children and reside in the Nashville area.