Posts

A Father’s Leadership Prayer For His Son

small__3573376194I have been reflecting on Psalm 72. This is a recoded prayer from King David for his son Solomon, who will be the next king of Israel. King David was a renowned king. He was the second king of Israel who united the kingdom and ushered in peace and prosperity. He was the covenant king as Yahweh promised that his throne would see no end, referring to the coming Messiah. To this day there is no more revered king to the people of Israel than King David.

But David’s human reign could not last forever. He too would pass and another would take his place. God’s chosen successor was Solomon, the second child from the marriage of David and Bathsheba. Solomon was a very significant king in his own right. He was to be the king who would build the first temple of Israel, a dwelling place for the presence of God. David would supply all of the resources, but it was Solomon’s task to execute the building project and see it through to completion. There was much on the line.

So what does David pray for his son? The themes of this prayer are powerful and instructional.

David asks Yahweh to provide Solomon with a clear sense of justice and righteousness as he leads. Kingship is a heady thing. It is easy to lose perspective on the purposes of your rule and role. David understood that Solomon must be a righteous and just ruler. 

David also prayed that Solomon would be a protector of the defenseless. Once a leader tastes power it is easy to use people rather than defend them and provide for their needs.

David prayed for a prosperous reign, one that would continue the national peace and be recognized by the nations surrounding Israel. 

David prays that Solomon would be a redeemer king, one who free his people from oppressors. David longed for Solomon to be a king who would look out for the needy and the weak. 

David prayed that Solomon would be a king who would experience abundance of provision that all the people might be blessed. 

Finally, David acknowledges that it is God’s glory that is most important. It is He who sustains leaders and uses them to bring His storyline to full fruition. It is His name that matters more than any leader’s name.

Take a fresh look at this Psalm, this prayer for a future and coming leader. What are your observations? How did this turn out for Solomon?

(photo credit)

A Leader’s Prayer-King Asa

UnknownOn several occasions I have highlighted the prayers of leaders recorded in the Bible. Often, they have been the prayers of King David. That is because he penned so many of the Psalms. But today I want to focus on the recorded prayer of King Asa.

Following the reign of Solomon, Israel was divided into two separate kingdoms, Israel and Judah. The son of Solomon, Rehoboam, reigned in Judah for 17 years and was seceded by his son, Abijah. Abijah reigned for 3 years and was seceded by his son, Asa. 2 Chronicles 14:2 tells us that, “Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God.” This is remarkable because it was not always true of the kings of Judah and it was never true for any of the kings of Israel. But Asa was diligent to rid Judah of idolatry and point his nation back to the one true God. For 10 years Judah enjoyed rest and prosperity under the rule of Asa.

Shortly after this decade of national peace and prosperity, Zerah, the Ethiopian, came out against the nation of Judah with an army a million strong. The rest was broken. Judah’s days as a peaceful and prosperous nation were being threatened by a powerful neighbor to the South. Asa did what any worthy king in the Ancient Near East would do. He mustered his army and went out to meet this foreign threat. The problem was that Asa had less than 600,000 soldiers to meet the million man army from Ethiopia. This was new leadership territory for Asa. He had not faced intruders or this kind of battle before. The odds were significantly stacked against him. This prompted Asa to pray. The Bible says that Asa “cried to the Lord his God.”

“O Lord, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.”

This prayer contains two requests and four declarations of faith. Asa’s two simple requests are what you might expect: “Help us” and “Let not man prevail against you.” Any leader would cry out to their god for help in similar circumstances. They would ask for victory. But it is in the faith declarations that we see the strength of Asa’s requests and what he believes about Yahweh.

  • O Lord, there is none like you to help
  • We rely on you
  • In your name we have come against this multitude
  • You are our God

The first declaration is towards God’s uniqueness in power. God is not constrained by the circumstances. As a matter of fact, God loves to prevail on behalf of the weak.

The second declaration is towards His trustworthiness. God was worthy of Asa’s trust. God had led Asa toward peace and prosperity. And God had led Asa to prepare an army in peace time that he might be ready in times of trial. God could be trusted in these circumstances also.

The third declaration is towards His glory. When Asa invokes God’s name he is calling upon God’s total character. A person’s name represented all of who they were. In our English Bibles the word “Lord” in these verses is in all caps. That is because Asa was crying out to YAHWEH. This was the covenant name of God. It symbolized that God would do what He had promised. This name stood for the majesty of God, His glory.

And the fourth declaration is toward God’s claim on His people-and their claim on Him. Asa was declaring that he and the nation of Judah belonged to God exclusively. Asa was declaring his allegiance and trust to God. Notice too that the final request is that man not prevail against God, not against the armies of Asa. This reflects Asa’s belief and identity being anchored in God.

These faith declarations, tied to the character of God, frame and support the requests that Asa makes. As spiritual leaders we would do well to frame our pray requests in a similar manner. A leader’s prayer based on the character of God, made by a devoted follower of God, will be heard by God. James, the Lord’s brother, said it this way, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working (James 5:16). May we be praying leaders, sure in the nature of God, and confident in our requests.

What are you learning about prayer as a leader?

A Leader’s Prayer-Psalm 5

medium_1795109345King David in the Bible faced many leadership challenges. Some were outside his control and some were a direct result of his personal sin. We do not know the exact circumstances that surround Psalm 5, but it is clear that David feels some anguish and senses his need for divine help.

Give ear to my words, O Lord;
    consider my groaning.
Give attention to the sound of my cry,
    my King and my God,
    for to you do I pray.

David is expressing an attitude of heart as well as a petition. He groans and he cries out. Notice that David calls the Lord “my King and my God.” David rightfully acknowledges his own dependence and submission as he calls upon Yahweh. Certainly David is facing threats from those who are less than reputable. He speaks of these opponents as “bloodthirsty and deceitful men.” What is the essence of David’s prayer?  We find it in verse eight.

Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness
    because of my enemies;
     make your way straight before me.

David the leader prays to be led. He prays for God’s righteousness to prevail and for straight paths. David is crying our for clarity and for vindication. He looks not to his own resources but to God alone.

When we as leaders are faced with half-truths and deceptive practices we must also rely upon the One who controls it all.

When we may be tempted to grab control and retaliate we must lean on the One who deeply understands and is able to act on our behalf.  

David concludes this Psalm by pointing to God’s protection and blessing. David the king places his trust in the King of Kings. This is a leader’s prayer.

Can we do any less?

(photo credit)