“When I heard the sad news that Christopher Hitchens had been diagnosed with esophageal cancer, I did what I typically do upon learning of someone’s illness: I said a silent prayer for his recovery. Call it habit, hope, or faith — but this is what I do. While I could not disagree more with this fierce critic of the Judeo-Christian tradition, I also recognize that Hitchens is not a bad man. He’s never employed or condoned violence in furtherance of his atheism. I can wish for him physical health and personal happiness even while I fight with everything I’ve got against what he stands for. Our hearts should be big enough to rise above the petty.”
Some things that we can specifically pray for:
- that Hitchens might see that the Gospel enables us to grieve over our enemies calamities (Proverbs 24:17) and seek their relief (Exodus 23:4).
- that his pain would lead not to worldly sorrow, but a Godly sorrow that both brings repentance and leads to his salvation (2 Cor 7:10).
- that God’s grace would be shown to be greater than his sinfulness (Romans 5:15-21) and can rescue even those who are objects of His wrath (Ephesians 2:3).
- that he might see that the Gospel does not gloss over sin, nor see justice as unimportant (Romans 3:26), but frees us from harbouring thoughts of retaliation (1 Peter 2:23b) and enables us to truly love even those who hurt the church (Matt 5:44).
- that he might be snatched from the fire (Jude 23) for God’s salvation is better than destruction (Psalm 30:9, Isaiah 38:18).