“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Mt 5:44).
"And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (6:5-6).
I’m sometimes asked who I pray for. Did I pray for Ted Kennedy? Do I pray for my opponents?
The raises a larger question. As a rule, I think it’s a mistake to publicize who we’re praying for.
i) To begin with, I think that savors too much of Mt 6:5. Spiritual pride under the chasuble of spiritual humility.
ii) On a related note, to say you’re praying for someone, especially someone everyone knows you disapprove of, can easily be, and frequently is, a backhanded slap.
And it’s a particularly insidious putdown since the putdown is cloaked in a show of pious concern. “See what a good person I am! When you-know-who mistreats me, I turn the other cheek by praying for his wayward soul!”
Now, there’s nothing wrong with praying for someone who mistreats you (Mt 5:44). But to make a public show of praying for someone who (really or allegedly) mistreats you converts the act of prayer into a sanctimonious weapon.