“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer…”. – Matthew 5:43-44 (MSG)
Most of us have a drawer in our soul where we store our wounds. Sometimes in the darkness of night we reach into that drawer and rehearse our pain, or change the narrative so that we are the ones who inflict the pain. At other times, it seems as if the drawer opens on its own and dumps it’s jagged contents against our hearts.
Jesus taught that the pathway to healing our woundedness and our broken relationships begins with prayer. While I’ve found this to be a profoundly powerful spiritual practice, I’ve often wished that scripture provided a little more guidance. Recently I came across this “Loving Kindness Meditation” and have found it a helpful guide on the journey to praying for those who have wounded us. Here’s how it works:
- Sit in a comfortable position that allows you to be both relaxed and alert. Start by focusing your attention on your breath for two minutes.
- Now bring to mind someone who has wounded you. Picture them as clearly as you can.
- Now read the following sentences slowly, pausing at the end of each for reflection:
- This person has a body and mind, just like me.
- This person has feelings, emotions, and thoughts, just like me.
- This person has, at some point in his or her life, been sad, disappointed, angry, hurt, or confused, just like me.
- This person has, in his or her life, experienced physical and emotional pain and suffering, just like me.
- This person wishes to be free from pain and suffering, just like me.
- This person wishes to be healthy and loved, and to have fulfilling relationships, just like me.
- This person wishes to be happy, just like me.
- Now allow these prayers to arise within you:
- I wish for this person to have the strength, the resources, and the emotional and social support to navigate the difficulties in life.
- I wish for this person to be free from pain and suffering.
- I wish for this person to be happy.
- Because this person is a beloved child of God, just like me. 
We don’t often choose to be wounded, but we can choose to invite God’s healing into our woundedness. This prayer practice isn’t a “one-and-done”. It won’t magically make your pain disappear. But practiced faithfully it will transform and heal you by opening the drawer within you to the power of the Great Healer.
Want to try a guided meditation? Click here. While not explicitly Christian, I believe that God honors this kind of meditation when done in faith with the right heart and intention.
Jeff Marian serves as lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN Adapted from Search Inside Yourself by Chade-Meng Tan