A Prayer for a Leader

May the leader be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth.” – Psalm 72:6

Sometimes the daily scripture for these devotions poses a real challenge. The text doesn’t make sense nor does it seem relevant. Other times, like today, the lesson lobs you the reflection. As we anticipate the inaugurations of new leaders, from a president to county commissioners, Psalm 72 offers an ancient prayer for them all.

“Give the leader your justice, O God,” the Psalm begins, “and your righteousness to a leader’s heir. May the leader judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice.” It continues: May the leader defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor.”

The Psalmist affirms that a leader exercises power with gentleness and consideration: “May the leader be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth.” Throughout their term of office, “may righteousness flourish and peace abound.”

The Psalmist concludes the leader’s job description with:

 “For a leader delivers the needy when they call,
   the poor and those who have no helper.
The leader has pity on the weak and the needy,
   and saves their lives.
 From oppression and violence the leader redeems their life.”

Finally, the Psalmist encourages the people to pray for the leader: “May prayer be made for the ruler continually, and blessings invoked all day long.” Yes, we need to pray for our leaders. Psalm 72 is a good place to start.


God of all nations, as the Psalm affirms, give our leaders—and us—your justice, your compassion for the poor, and your passion for peace. Amen. 

ddtalithaarnold2013.jpgAbout the Author
Talitha Arnold is Senior Minister of the United Church of Santa Fe (UCC), Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is the author of Mark Part 1 and Mark Part 2 of the Listen Up! Bible Study series and Worship for Vital Congregations.