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Just as in Psalm 20, this Psalm is about the king, but also about Jesus. As we saw in yesterday’s article, we can pray for earthly leaders (pastors, business and governmental leaders) and for the purposes that God desires to obtain through the continued ministry of Jesus.
Psalm 21 also echoes a theme that includes the entire Book of Psalms. It is only in a relationship of complete trust in God that leaders can expect to be successful.
Jesus made this fact clear about himself. He said, “I tell you the truth: the Son can do nothing on his own; he does only what he sees his Father doing. What the Father does, the Son also does” (John 5.19). This was one of 45 other times in the Gospel of John that Jesus is recorded as confessing his complete dependence on the Father.
Jesus said that our successful ministry, like his, is dependent on being united in relationship and in purpose with him. He said, “I am the vine, and you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me” (John 15.5).
Let’s keep Jesus’ words at the forefront of our minds as we pray Psalm 21.
The king is glad, O Lord, because you gave him strength;
he rejoices because you made him victorious.
You have given him his heart’s desire;
you have answered his request. (Psalm 21.1-2)
Rees Howells was a mighty man of prayer during World War II. There is a fascinating book about him by Norman Grubb. Howells always sought a “place of abiding” with Jesus before he asked for anything from the Lord.
By “abiding,” Howells wanted his entire being to resonate with what was on the heart of Jesus. John 15.7 was crucial to his effectiveness in prayer, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, then you will ask for anything you wish, and you shall have it.”
We can be assured that God will give us our “heart’s desire,” when our heart is aligned with Jesus.
You came to him with great blessings
and set a crown of gold on his head.
He asked for life, and you gave it,
a long and lasting life.
His glory is great because of your help;
you have given him fame and majesty.
Your blessings are with him forever,
and your presence fills him with joy. (Psalm 21.3-6)
As we pray verses 3-6 for human leaders, we remember how Psalm 1 described the blessed. We can ask God to form our leaders after the first Psalm.
Happy are those
who reject the advice of evil people,
who do not follow the example of sinners
or join those who have no use for God.
Instead, they find joy in obeying the Law of the Lord,
and they study it day and night. (Psalm 1.1-2)
As we pray for leaders (pastors, business and governmental leaders), we ask God to align them with his desire to bless the world. God’s message to Abraham is still the responsibility of leaders in the world.
I will bless those who bless you,
But I will curse those who curse you.
And through you I will bless all the nations. (Genesis 12.3)
We can pray for leaders to be blessed, but also that through them the nations will be blessed.
As we pray with the King of all kings in mind, we should pray: “May your Kingdom come; may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6.10).
There is so much we can learn from these verses. I have only scratched the surface of their value. Seek for your heart to be aligned with that of God and let the Holy Spirit direct your praying.
Victory Over Enemies
Jesus faced seen and unseen enemies. Some of his enemies were religious authorities, who rejected his ministry. Other enemies were demons and Satan himself.
Leaders encounter enemies, both seen and unseen. It makes sense that the thief, who comes to kill, steal and destroy human life (John 10.10), will attempt to influence people in power to do harm to people.
As we pray for leaders and for all of God’s purposes on earth, Psalm 21 provides us words to share this burden with God.
The king trusts in the Lord Almighty;
and because of the Lord’s constant love
he will always be secure.
The king will capture all his enemies;
he will capture everyone who hates him.
He will destroy them like a blazing fire
when he appears.
The Lord will devour them in his anger,
and fire will consume them.
None of their descendants will survive;
the king will kill them all.
They make their plans, and plot against him,
but they will not succeed.
He will shoot his arrows at them
and make them turn and run. (Psalm 21.7-12)
Some of the words that impressed me in these verses are: trust, capture, destroy, and victory.
We don’t have to pray for Jesus to trust the Father, but we certainly need to pray that decisions of leaders will be made in a relationship of trust with God. God’s constant love is the basis of our trust in him.
How does Jesus capture his enemies? He changes their hearts and makes them his friends. He destroys wickedness by transforming the lives of the wicked into his children.
If you have a boss, a governmental official, or some some other leader whose behavior troubles you, pray. Pray that God will capture their hearts and destroy wickedness by his transforming love.
Our joyful task is to join Jesus in his redemptive work. Prayer for God’s victory over the hearts of people is one of the most valuable things we can do.
End in Praise
God’s constant love is the foundation of our praise. The opportunity to meet with the Greatest Being of All is reason to praise. Victory is reason to praise.
We praise you, Lord, for your great strength!
We will sing and praise your power. (Psalm 21.13)
May We Pray for You?
We would be honored to pray for you. Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. We will pray for you and ask Maywood Baptist Church’s prayer team to pray, too.