praying for our leaders
Psalm 72 is marked "A Psalm for Solomon." David wrote it shortly before he passed the throne on to his chosen son. It is part prophecy, part glorious vision of government as it ought to be, reflecting in its ways the heavenly kingdom of God. That government should be an extension of God's rule is clear in David's opening verse: "Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king's son."
Recently, a good friend who works in a government office challenged me to pray for all our officials, from the Prime Minister through the MPs through everyone else who governs in this nation. Of course, we do not have a single king--but that doesn't mean we can't increase our prayers to include every man and woman in positions of governmental authority.
So what, according to Psalm 72, should we be praying for these people? David's first entreaty, that God would literally give His righteousness to Solomon, mirrors my friend's urgent request: "Pray that our government leaders would get saved." We should pray, first and foremost, that God Himself would enter the lives of individuals in government and transform them by the power of the cross.
Second, we should pray that our leaders would truly care for the needy, poor, and oppressed. This can be reflected in domestic and international policies. How best to care for such people may be a matter of debate, but that we can and must care for them is not:
"He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor ... For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence; and precious shall their blood be in his sight."
(Psalm 72:4, 12-14)
One prayer I have taken up is that our leaders would hear the cries of the unborn and others who are threatened by the growing death culture. When the blood of these very needy, who have no others to help them, becomes precious in the sight of our leaders, then we will see change.
We must pray also that justice would be truly and righteously carried out. We sometimes view justice as a personal matter, but we should not. In a just society, there is peace and safety. In an unjust society is violence, wrong, and growing chaos. David continually asks God to make Solomon wise and righteous in his judgments:
"Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king's son. He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and the poor with judgment ... In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth." (Psalm 71:1-2, 7) I am struck by verse 4, which declares that Solomon "shall break in pieces the oppressor." In an unjust nation, those who commit crimes against the innocent are not held truly accountable. I pray too that this will change where it is occurring today.
This morning I spent much of my prayer time entreating God for our government. Romans 13:1 reminds me that God has placed them in power: "For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God." In prayer, I recognize God as King of kings reigning over all the earth and ask Him to rule through our nation so that the poor, the needy, and the righteous shall be blessed.