Praying for Presidents
“Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to a king’s son.
May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice.” – Psalm 72:1-2
On Christmas morning, as my two teenagers began to open a shared present, I told them that the gift needed several caveats.
“First,” I said, “remember that we believe in the work of peace more than the work of war.”
“Second, world domination is a terrible business; remember that the manifestations of colonialism continue to impact and undermine peoples around the world.”
“And third,” I admittedly sheepishly, “I’ve played this game since I was a kid, but I can never manage the strategy to win it.”
With a synchronized roll of their eyes, my son and daughter finished opening the present: the board game Risk, which challenges players to conquer the world region by region. Risk posits each player as a conqueror, a global leader of sorts—or at least, a global contender.
And in the contentious world of global leadership, not only in a board game but in real life, might often rules the day. Might of military. Might of voice. Might of money. Might of influence. Might of ego.
Which is why we pray—with renewed discipline in this new year—for our worldly rulers to be guided by righteousness more than mightiness. To defend the cause of the poor more than the cause of the rich. To strive for peace in such a way that all people will have enough.
We pray for rulers and royalty, for presidents and parliaments, that those in leadership might love the work of peace more than the work of war.