But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matt. 5:44)

IN 1979 SIX-YEAR-OLD Etan Patz vanished on his way to a bus stop in Manhattan. Subsequently, he became the first missing child pictured on a milk carton. His disappearance, as tragic as it was, is only one of many. It has been estimated that on any given day there are at least 100,000 active missing person cases in the United States. Perhaps someone you know is included in that number, and you are praying for his or her safe return. But there may be others who are missing—not from your community but from your prayer list. They are individuals who assume an adversarial position because you are an avowed believer.

It certainly is hard to pray for a boss who refuses to advance you because he or she detests Christianity. It is even harder to pray for a known terrorist who seeks to kill Christians. And it isn’t easy to pray for a vindictive neighbor who yells at your kids because he or she nurses a grudge against all Christians. But Jesus instructed us to pray for enemies and those who persecute us, so our prayer list should make room—perhaps near the top—for the names of those individuals. Because the prayer of a righteous person is “powerful and effective” (James 5:16), what might happen if we prayed for the salvation of our enemies?

Begin today to pray for at least three antagonists.

Jim Dyet and his wife, Gloria, have been married fifty-four years. They live in Colorado Springs. Jim enjoys daily walks with his small dogs and playing golf with friends.