Prayer during Election Uncertainty

The uncertainty leading up to the Presidential election drove many to their knees in prayer, regardless of political affiliation. For many conservative Christians, concern for the unborn and convictions about marriage or sexuality informed their prayers. For some of them, and for others, concern for ethics and morality in society (especially among our leaders), passion for the plight of the economically and socially oppressed, and a love for life that demands accessibility to healthcare and recognition of civil rights for people most vulnerable to discrimination and bullying inspired their prayers. Some on both sides either ignored the others’ concerns or dismissed them as hypocritical or simplistic, unconstitutional or demonic. Fear of violence and civil unrest, whether the violence was prompted by response to violence against unarmed citizens or by allegiance to white supremacy, also led Christians to pray. Americans across the political spectrum have feared that our system of government might be at risk, whether from socialism or from authoritarian leaders who disregard constitutional procedures. I think it’s fair to say that such fear remains even after the election with former Vice-President Joe Biden projected to have won the election, but President Donald Trump refusing to concede.


The prayer of Habakkuk in chapter 1 of his prophecy seems relevant for people across the political spectrum to me. The prophet feared invasion of Israel by a pagan superpower. He also lamented the injustice he witnessed already in his nation. He prayed:

“How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted” (Habakkuk 1:2-4).


God’s answer startled the prophet. His divine strategy to resolve the collapse of justice among Israelites was to unleash “a feared and dreaded people…a law to themselves [who] promote their own honor” (verse 7). God’s plan to discipline his people and reset them on a right course would employ means and agents that shocked Habakkuk.
God’s plan for our times may confuse us. We may wonder why he does not hear our cries against violence, abuse of power, and disregard for the helpless. God assured Habakkuk that faith would provide fuel for survival (2:4), that God still controls (2:20), and that living in harmony with God empowers (3:16-19). These principles endure, and form the foundation for Peter’s encouraging words to embattled Christians:


“But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.’ But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander” (1 Peter 3:15-16).


Join with Habakkuk and me in praying for justice. Be prepared for an answer you had not imagined. Live with faith and act with love as you follow Christ (Take time to reflect on his words in Matthew 25:31-46 about priority of action). Pray for Donald Trump and Joseph Biden, Jr. Pray for yourself and for me, hoping that our sentiments are the same as the writer(s) of the book of Hebrews:


“Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way” (Hebrews 13:18)

• Quotes from the Bible are from the New International Version, 2011.

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Let the Whole Church Pray…

Several preachers among Churches of Christ have put together an online event for today called “Let the Whole Church Pray.” You can read about it here. The event’s page calls for Christians to pray for our nation (the United States of America), the elections, this week, local churches, evangelism, young people navigating uncertain times (I would add that we older people need such prayers, too), and unity. The unity we need on both the religious and political scenarios.

Acts 4:23-31 records a prayer by the apostles and the church of Jerusalem during a turbulent time in the church’s earliest days. Apostles Peter and John had been arrested and instructed before their release “not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:18). They responded that they could not help speaking about what they had witnessed. In the church’s prayer, they prayed,

“Now Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness” (Acts 4:29).

2020 to this point has been a turbulent time for the whole world because of the coronavirus pandemic. In the United States, we have experienced the virus, economic collapse, civil unrest and widespread protests because of shootings by police, disruption to normal routines of work, recreation, entertainment, and even assembling for worship with fellow believers. This also is a Presidential election year that pits two older but very different major party candidates. Christians are supporting each of them because of issues voters support because of biblical teaching. I have already voted – in person. My vote will count and I had a voice in the direction our country should take. I voted for people I trust to speak truth and have empathy, to act with integrity and compassion, to act firmly but fairly. I prayed about my voting before I voted. I pray now that peace will prevail in the aftermath of the election. I hope that all votes that qualified voters cast will be counted so that their voices may be heard. I realize the potential for unrest after the election and pray that whatever the outcome, we work together to restore health and unity in our nation as a whole, in our communities, and in our churches. Let us resolve that “prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings, and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1b-2).

So I urge: Let the whole church pray…for reconciliation, for unity, and for holy, courageous leaders in our congregations and in our nation. Let us determine that we will live courageously for God and for Christ, but also peacefully in all godliness and holiness.

  • Biblical quotations are from the New International Version 2011.
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Praying for Survival

Can you name a place in the Bible that received its name because some prayed there? When you think of a biblical judge (or leader in the book of Judges) who was a prayer warrior, who comes to mind? Gideon might, because his account begins with a prolonged conversation with God. But the stories of several judges include no prayers or allusion to calling on the name of the Lord. The Song of Deborah and Barak concludes with a prayer and the final judge, Samuel, includes several mentions of prayer. Another judge’s story includes two prayers, each of which can be described as a call for fire that requests God to act now at a specific location to achieve a specific purpose. This judge thus is a prayer warrior. His name was Samson.


Prayer probably does not come first to mind when you think of Samson. Movies have been made about him, but they did not focus on his prayers (although his final prayer is the climax of his story). Most people remember Samson’s legendary strength and his long hair or think of him as a “wild and crazy guy” obsessed with finding the wrong woman to love. His first recorded prayer came as a consequence of a frustrated quest for love. After his fiancé had been given to another man to be his wife, Samson had burned Philistine fields and followed that with a vicious massacre of Philistines after his would-have-been father-in-law and wife were put to death because they had brought on Samson’s revenge (Judges 14:20-15:8). The Philistines then demanded that Israelites hand over Samson to be punished, which the Israelites did after conferring with Samson. Near a place called Lehi, the bound Samson broke free from the ropes that bound him, grabbed a “fresh jawbone of a donkey” lying near by and struck down a thousand men at what became known as Jawbone Hill (Ramath Lehi).


Twenty-four years ago this past weekend, I ran a 26.2 mile race. When I finished the marathon, I was so dehydrated that my vision began fading in and out. A volunteer led me to the first aid tent, where I gulped down two liters of water in the next forty-five minutes before I was able to walk back to my hotel. Samson likewise was dehydrated after his prolonged battle alone against at least a thousand men seeking to kill him. So he sent up a call for fire message to God:

“Because he was very thirsty, he cried out to the Lord, ‘You have given your servant this great victory. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” (Judges 15:18)


God responded by opening up a spring of water in a nearby “hollow place” (a depression in the ground?). Samson’s call for fire had been heard and God had responded promptly and decisively. The passage concludes:

“When Samson drank, his strength returned and he revived. So the spring was called En Hakkore, and it is still there in Lehi. Samson led Israel for twenty years in the days of the Philistines” (Judges 15:19b-20).


Verse nineteen answers the question I asked to begin this post. En Hakkore means “caller’s spring.” It was the place where Samson, a leader of Israel, called to the Lord. His prayer for hydration was a prayer for his survival. He had prayed in fear that he would die and that his body would be desecrated and defiled by his enemies. God heard his prayer. Samson is hardly a moral example to follow, but his prayer and another recorded later reveal that he trusted God. He believed that God could and would act to save his people in desperate times. The book of Judges records what was on the whole a spiritually desolate era in Israel’s history. Samson’s prayer at the “Caller’s Spring” reveals that faith remained in Israel in the most unlikely of spiritual heroes.

The occasions that prompt us to pray don’t have be the need for world peace or answers to a worldwide pandemic. Just as the model prayer that Jesus taught his disciples included a request for “our daily bread,” so we pray for what we need to live just as Samson prayed for water when he was dehydrated. He prayed in a moment of personal physical crisis. He prayed and God heard him.

  • Quotes from the Bible are from the New International Version 2011


God who revives and restores, we pray that you will hear our prayers for healing during this time of pandemic, civil unrest, and political strife. Give us the physical strength and health that we need to continue. Strengthen our faith even as you reveal to us our own weaknesses that prevent us from serving you well. May we remember in the times of our deepest need as Samson did, that you are the God who sees and who hears those who trust and call out to you. Hear our prayer. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Praying for Rescue from Liars

How do we pray when there is a crisis of integrity? When truth becomes difficult to discern, when discordant voices clash in public forums inviting our allegiance and denouncing one another, we bow before our Lord praying for an end to confusion. A psalmist cried out to God in just such a situation, praying with desperate faith:


“Help, LORD, for no one is faithful anymore; those who are loyal have vanished from the human race. Everyone lies to their neighbor; they flatter with their lips but harbor deception in their hearts” (Psalm 12:1,2).

Whether we seek to ascertain which political candidate to endorse or what presentation of theological doctrine to endorse, we clamor for certainty. We crave truth, even when postmodern advocates assure that none exists. Those who seem to espouse values that we hold dear command our attention, even as their behavior and speech in other matters horrify us. We struggle more when those who disagree with us act and speak nobly. Are we being deceived by flattery? Can we accept what we hear and trust what we see? Many of us have learned to look carefully for signs of digital adaptations in videos and photographs or indications of editing in recordings of speeches. We have become more discerning; some have become cynical; still others trust no one. Like the psalmist, we plead for the Lord to provide clarity:

“May the LORD silence all flattering lips and every boastful tongue – those who say, ‘By our tongues we will prevail; our own lips will defend us- who is lord over us?” (Psalm 12:3-4)

We pray for truth, but also for the desperate and vulnerable. They may hop back and forth from distrust to gullible affirmation of what they hear, but they need very real help and support. The psalmist echoes the voices of the prophets as he continues his prayer, declaring in the words of the Lord himself that God will protect the poor from those who malign them:

“Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise,’ says the Lord. ‘I will protect them from those who malign them.”
“And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like god refined seven times.” (Psalm 12:5-6)


In times when we do know whom to trust or what to believe, we can take comfort in a God who pursues justice and defends the cause of the oppressed. The prophet Amos condemns “women who oppress the poor and crush the needy” in Amos 4:1. The psalmist of Psalm 12 likewise affirms the Lord’s care for the poor and needy. He asserts confidence in God’s future actions on their behalf. He denounces the arrogance of the wicked as he prays,


“You, LORD, will keep the needy safe and will protect us forever from the wicked, who freely strut about when what is vile is honored by human race” (Psalm 12:7-8).

When leaders glorify deception and manipulation as an artform and do what they themselves previously denounced, when vulnerable groups are targeted for killing or are imprisoned literally or figuratively so that they cannot live without fear, courageous believers in the God of justice will speak for those who cannot defend themselves or lack legal standing to do so. The challenge for those who seek to do right is learning truth and exposing evil to the light that will cleanse it, while retaining humility and integrity. This psalm speaks directly, not just to political leaders, but to “neighbors,” who deceive and abuse those they live beside.

When we pray that the Lord will silence the arrogant and the deceptive, may we also pray and vow that we will not be among those whom God should silence.

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Is God for Us or for Our Enemies?

As his Israelite army prepared to attack what even then was the ancient city of Jericho, Joshua “looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went to him and asked, ‘Are you for us or for our enemies?’” (Joshua 5:13).
We understand Joshua’s query. Whether it’s a matter of war-time alliances, taking sides in political campaigns, or what sports team a person cheers, we want to know whether other people are on our side. If they do not side with us, we may ascribe evil motives, or at least poor judgment to them.


In the current American political culture, both parties advocate polices that make strong ethical or moral claims that are based in biblical values. As you read that previous sentence, did your blood pressure start to rise? Both parties? You may have wanted to protest that your party’s key issue (in your opinion) is the most important moral issue; the other party has forsaken morality and ethics. You may have difficulty conceding, or even imagining, that someone from the other party may having the same thoughts you are in reaction to that sentence. We all want God to be on our side.


Joshua wanted this warrior to be on his side. It quite likely seemed a matter of life or death at that moment. The warrior’s response startled Joshua:


“Neither,’ he replied, ‘but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come” (Joshua 5:14a).


Neither? But wasn’t Joshua’s people the Chosen People of God? How could God NOT be on their side? The warrior asserts that God’s purposes do not align necessarily with any nation or army. When Joshua hears the warrior’s retort, he reacts in a way that suggests to me that if God is not on his side, Joshua definitely wants to be on Gods side:


“Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence and asked him, ‘What message does my Lord have for his servant?” (Joshua 5:14b)

Joshua does not argue with the warrior. He does not protest this unexpected neutrality. Joshua recognizes truth and realizes he is in the presence of God. He seeks to learn what God’s priorities are. When we pray regarding the outcome of elections, or pray regarding candidates, we want to pray for specific outcomes. This episode in Joshua’s life warns us to approach such prayers in humility, with a spirit that seeks to learn and not to impose our own will. Several years ago, I wrote a post entitled, “When to Pray, When to Protest,” that you can read by clicking here. In that post I wrote, “Working for justice demands taking the time to learn what is right and what is true in the circumstance that arouses our anger.” Like Joshua, we should seek to learn what message the Lord has for us but studying what the Bible has to say about the issues that our party advocates and that the other party advocates. As we study, and pray as we reflect on what we have learned, we also must remember how Joshua’s interaction with the warrior continued:


“The commander of Lord’s army replied, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.’ And Joshua did so” (Joshua 5:15).


Let us act and speak with awareness that we are standing on holy ground. If we are to be rebuked or condemn, let it be because we have taken the time to discern what the will of the Lord is.

• Quotations from the Bible are from the New International Version 2011.


Lord,
We bow before you, recognizing your reign and authority over us. Our pride enshrines our opinions as sacred. Awaken us when we are obtuse. Reveal to us when we teeter on the edge of idolatry, tempted to worship ideologies or economic theories, praising leaders without careful reflection that they are, like us, merely your creatures. Help us, as we read the Bible, to understand what we read and to discern rightly how the message applies in our own time. Teach us to value truth and integrity. Grant us the courage to pursue justice for those who cannot defend themselves. Help us to remember that you do not have to be on our side, but that we desperately need to be on your side. Forgive us for our arrogance. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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A Prayer for Courage on an Anniversary of Evil

In this year where the unexpected seems to occur daily, we remember today a day when we were shocked by destruction. Wars followed that day of disaster; nineteen years later, peace talks will begin between the Afghan government and the Taliban that hope to end the first of those wars. We battle a virus now, but still we battle our fear.  While now we may not always be able to meet together to worship, we still can live each day to the glory of God, praise him in prayer and song even if only in our heart, and love our neighbors by surrendering our rights to protect their lives. May we maintain community with other believers in Christ, even if only on Zoom, and relish each moment we worship together when we are reunited. Let us resolve anew to pray for courage and wisdom as we seek spiritual and physical health. We decide each day whether we will follow God or surrender to evil.  May we discern correctly when what appears to be an angel of light is fact darkness incarnate.  Pray hard, my friends, as you read the attached post from a previous anniversary of the terrorist attacks on this date in 2001.

Call for Fire Seminar

A prayer I offered in 2012 front of an assembly from several nations in Kabul for Patriot Day (September 11):

O God, Creator of all, Sustainer of life, our Refuge from disaster, we commemorate today an event that awakened a nation and that forced awareness of vulnerability upon a world. As a nation, the United States of America sank to its knees in prayer as we reeled with disbelief. Even so, hundreds of citizens immediately responded, many dying themselves as they struggled to save those trapped within the targets of the terrorists.

Today we pray that you will restore our hope, that you will renew our faith, that you will energize us to defend liberty to speak, to worship and to assemble.

May we have the courage, when faced with evil, to stand firm in freedom, resisting the urge to retreat into authoritarianism and oppression.

Thousands have given their lives…

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A Prayer that We Will Find our Security in God

In this post from September 2016, I reflected on changes that the terrorist actions on September 11, 2001 had brought to our lives. I also spoke to fears that some had regarding the results of that year’s Presidential election. Another election now looms ahead, and fear still is alive and well in America. Let’s pray for the faith to envision hope and opportunity where others see only peril. Let’s trust that God will provide security for us, that he is still in control. My prayer today remains the same. God is the faithful provider. I pray that he will revive our spirits, fill us with discernment, and mold us into his agents who spread health and life rather than fear and suspicion. Pray hard, my friends.

Call for Fire Seminar

Fifteen years ago, the fabric of security in which Americans had wrapped themselves was ripped away as hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. Our government responded with what the Attorney General at that time termed a more “authoritarian” approach to security and governance, restricting freedoms for the general public in order to attempt restraint of terrorism. The impact from the events of that day still resonate in our society, even for those who had not yet been born on September 11, 2001.
When we go to an airport today, we encounter procedures and security far different than what existed prior to the attacks. I miss saying “goodbye” to loved ones or friends at the gate and watching their plane take off. Now we bid farewell before they go through security unless a child or disabled person needs someone to accompany them…

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A Prayer that We Will Flee from Idolatry

The book of 1 John begins with focus on Jesus:

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us” (1 John 1:1-2)

In chapter two, John reminds us that Jesus is our advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1). He affirms that if Christians remain in what they heard from the beginning, they will remain “in the Son and in the Father.” In chapter 3, he reveals what that message they heard was: “We should love one another” (3:11). He says that Jesus defined love when he laid his life down for us (3:16).

 
Prayer comes into the picture again in chapter three, also, where confidence in prayer is tied to our obedience to God’s commands (3:22). God’s command, John writes, is this: “to believe in the name of his son, Jesus Christ” (3:23). John continues to emphasize focus on Christ and love (for God and for other people) as critical components of Christian living throughout the rest of this letter. He finishes the letter with continued emphasis on Jesus and a final instruction:

“We know also that the son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Dear child, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:20-21).

Keep yourselves from idols? Certainly, by seeking God by focusing on Jesus and his embodiment of who God is, by loving God and loving one another, by obeying God’s commands. When we lose focus and substitute someone or an ideology or a symbol for Jesus as the focus of our confidence and faith, we lapse into idolatry. As a retired Army chaplain, I love my country and respect its flag. That flag, however, did not save my soul. To substitute that flag or any other national symbol for Jesus would be an act of idolatry, as would be professing that an economic system or a political party is our hope for salvation.

 
Let us pray with courage. Let us pray and live with love. May we always pray with our eyes fixed on Jesus. He is the author and perfecter of our faith. My friends, flee from idolatry.

 
• Quotations from the Bible are from the New International Version 2011.

 

O God who teaches us to love, Calm our fears. Help us to remember that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to you except through year. We’re tempted to place our faith in things concrete, but also in political parties, economic theories, and charismatic leaders. We’re tempted to excoriate and curse those disagree with those regarding those matters and leaders. We act sometimes with hatred and disrespect towards people who differ from us. May we follow the instruction of Jesus to love one another, and his example to love sacrificially. Strengthen us that we hear your Word and walk in obedience to your will. We pray through our advocate Jesus, amen.

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Thanking the Judge of the Nations

Give thanks when God answers your “call for fire” prayers. We ask when we want or need. We lament when we grieve. We praise God when we rejoice in his grace and love. Let’s remember to say thank you when he grants our request or rescues us from a dire situation. The Psalmist gives thanks in Psalm 9. His prayer is complex, also including praise and request for continued judgment against evil people, but begins with a joyful statement of gratitude and a promise to sing God’s praises:

“I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High” (Psalm 9:1-3).

The prayer identifies God as righteous judge (v 4, 7), as a refuge for the oppressed (v 9), and as the righteous avenger (v 12,16). The avenger “remembers; he does not ignore the cries of the afflicted.“ The persecution of the psalmist continues, so he asks,

“LORD, see how my enemies persecute me! Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death that I may declare your praises in the gates of Daughter Zion, and there rejoice in your salvation” (Psalm 9:13-14).

While he affirms that “God will never get the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish” in verse 18, he cries out for the Lord to arise and judge the nations. He boldly asks, “Strike them with terror, LORD; let the nations know they are only mortal” (Psalm 9:20). From the very beginning, humanity has reached for the status and power of gods, but often we have abused the powers we have and the technologies we invent to assert our power over others in harmful ways. Let’s join the psalmist in thanking God for his gifts, but also in remembering with God to hear the cries of the afflicted, to pursue justice, and to act in ways that will bring hope for the poor and vulnerable. May we remember to seek and to trust the Lord, for as the psalmist prays,

“Those who know your name trust in you, for you LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you” (Psalm 9:10).

 

  • Quotations from the Bible are from the New International Version 2011.

You are the judge of the nations, our God. You pursue justice for the oppressed and the vulnerable. You hear the prayers of those who seek you. Remember us, Lord, when our enemies assail us unjustly. Open our eyes to our sin when we have earned our affliction. Use us as your agents to bring peace and truth into our cultures. Grant us discernment so that we may identify those who seek to deceive us. We thank you for the love and provision that you give us. We thank you that we can laugh, that we can sing, that we can shout when we recall how you have rescued us from darkness. Arise, Lord, and continue to act on behalf of those who need salvation. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Praying with Integrity

When we are hurting, we want to lash out. In anger, or in despair, we abandon love. We flee from trust, even as we crave to trust and long to be trusted. In Psalm 7, a psalmist under attack prays for victory against his oppressors:

“Arise, LORD, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, my God, decree justice” (Psalm 7:6 ).

He voices his despair. He pleads for God to exact justice. In Psalm 7, the words of the prayer differ from the message of many prayers for justice. The writer of this psalm prays that God will judge him along with his enemies. When angry or hurt, we may ignore factors that explain the perspective of others and explain away actions of our own that are unjust or selfish. As the Psalmist prays, he holds himself accountable:

“Lord my God, if I have done this and there is guilt on my hands – if I have repaid my ally with evil or without cause have robbed my foe – then let my enemy pursue and overtake me; let him trample my life to the ground and make me sleep in the dust” (Psalm 7:3-5).

He restates this willingness to be judged in verse eight when he prays that God will vindicate him “according to [his] righteousness, according to [his] integrity.” He stages this assertion after placing it in the context of an assembly of the nations in the presence of God the judge on his throne. Not only his enemies, but he himself will be judged so that God can “bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure” (verse 9). As he prays that God will end the violence of the wicked, he acknowledges that no one can deceive or hide from God, our judge who is able to probe minds and hearts. In verses seven through nine, he recalls that God “has prepared his deadly weapons.” The armor and weaponry of God is ready for him to use it as he judges and disciplines humanity.
He continues his prayer with confession that serious consequences stem from evil thinking and actions:

“Whoever is pregnant with evil conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment. Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit they have made. The trouble the cause recoils on them; their violence comes down on their own heads” (Psalm 7:14-16).

In this prayer, a humble of servant of God confesses his fear that his own sins have fueled the struggles and opposition he is enduring, even as he asks God to rescue him from those who threaten to tear him apart. Despite his fears, He confesses his faith in God’s righteousness, justice, and power both to avenge and to save. He concludes his prayer with gratitude, singing, and praise. When I was in the Army, I repeatedly heard leaders remind their soldiers to take care of their equipment and to trust that it would work. This man of prayer realizes that God is his best defense, his shield, against all that threatens him.
This psalm reminds you and me that when we pray, it is crucial that we are honest with ourselves and with God. We cannot hide from him, but we can deceive ourselves. I’ve learned to critique my own emotions and motives before assuming the worst in others. It was not an easy lesson to learn. I encourage you to pause to evaluate yourself before you pray. Remember God’s justice and power to discipline and punish, but also remember his love and his power to save those who strive to walk in righteousness. God values truth-telling highly. Let’s testify to our own faithfulness by seeking to speak (and to post on social media) truth at all times. Let’s pray with the psalmist that God will arise to save the righteous. May we be among those he rescues.

  • Quotes from the Bible are from the New International Version 2011.
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