I confess I sometimes struggle with how to pray about political issues. Of course, general requests for our governmental officials are clearly mandated from Scripture, such as wisdom, integrity, justice, and attitude of service and humility.
But how do we respond when controversial or partisan issues arise that seem to represent threats to the very future of our nation? Can we pray more specifically than for “justice to prevail” or “God’s will to be done”?
Such was the situation during the Civil War. Both sides were convinced that they were operating in righteousness and that God was on their side. Both prayed for victory.
Clearly both sides could not be right, and while in hindsight we have a clearer perspective of the spiritual realities, in the moment it was difficult for even sincere Christians to exercise discernment.
I believe we are facing a similar moment in American history, as there is increasing evidence of corruption at the highest levels of our government. While corruption in politics is certainly not new, what seems unprecedented is the unwillingness to address it or even acknowledge it by some in positions of power. The levels of deception and manipulation are troubling.
When the Department of Justice itself becomes corrupt, the prospects of maintaining a just society are dire.
As Christians we often feel an obligation to avoid “demonizing” our political opponents, to believe the best about them in spite of contrary evidence. But King David did not seem to have the same scruples.
In Psalm 5 David lays a case before God. He does not hesitate to bring a charge that there are those around him who are enemies of God, enemies of righteousness, and enemies of his nation. They are standing against God's purposes in the land of Israel.
David boldly petitions God to deal with them. He calls on God to declare them guilty in the courts of Heaven and banish them from their positions of power. He asks for their downfall.
I believe we are in a similar position in the United States. I believe it is time for us to call on God for the downfall of liars, manipulators, deceivers, and those who would pervert justice.
Our motivation is not rooted in animosity or revenge, but confidence in God's good purposes for our nation and compassion for all our fellow Americans who are the ultimate victims of a corruption of justice.
Please join me in claiming these verses for America:
In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly.
For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness;
with you, evil people are not welcome.
The arrogant cannot stand
in your presence.
You hate all who do wrong;
you destroy those who tell lies.
Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness
because of my enemies—
make your way straight before me.
Not a word from their mouth can be trusted;
their heart is filled with malice.
Declare them guilty, O God!
Let their intrigues be their downfall.
Banish them for their many sins,
for they have rebelled against you.
But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield.
—selected verses from Psalm 5