Wiley Drake, pastor of the First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, California is praying Psalm 109:8-9 every day. Psalm 109 is a psalm of lament. The psalm is an imprecatory prayer in the form of a curse against a particular enemy. Drake’s prayer is focused on verses 8 and 9:
May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership. May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow (Psalm 109:8-9).
The focus of Drake’s prayer is President Barack Obama. In a radio interview, Drake said he is praying for the death of President Obama. According to an article published in Salon.com, Drake was asked the following question by radio talk show host Alan Colmes:
“Are you praying for his death?” Colmes asked Drake, referring to President Obama. “Yes,” Drake replied. “So you’re praying for the death of the president of the United States?” Colmes asked. “Yes.” “You would like for the president of the United States to die?” Colmes asked once more. “If he does not turn to God and does not turn his life around, I am asking God to enforce imprecatory prayers that are throughout the Scripture that would cause him death, that’s correct.”
But Drake is not the only one praying for the death of President Obama. According to Salon.com,
Pastor Steve Anderson of Faithful World Baptist Church in Tempe, Ariz., also incorporates this form of prayer in his worship. In fact, Frederick Clarkson of Religion Dispatches surmises that Anderson inspired one regular attendant of Faithful World Baptist, 28-year-old Chris Broughton, to show up to a speech by the president with two guns in hand when he issued the following sermon:
“You’re going to tell me that I’m supposed to pray for the socialist devil, murderer, infanticide, who wants to see young children, and he wants to see babies killed through abortion and partial-birth abortion and all these different things,” Anderson said, referring to President Obama. “Nope. I’m not gonna pray for his good. I’m going to pray that he dies and goes to hell.”
It is sad that Christians are praying for the death of the President of the United Sates. This attitude violates the intent of Paul’s words in Romans 13. Paul wrote:
“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves” (Romans 13:1-2).
When Paul wrote these words both Christians and Jews were under Roman oppression. It is in light of the political realities of the first century that Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome urging them to honor and obey the political authorities of his days.
Paul also wrote:
“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God” (1 Timothy 2:1).
Some Christians agree with the policies of President Obama, other disagree with what he is doing as President. But political disagreement is no reason for Christians to pray for his death. The political response of any Christian should reflect an attitude of respect for the person and for the office, even when they disagree with the policies of the President.
Those pastors who are praying for the death of the President should read their Bible and be aware of what God’s Word has to say about those in authority. The writer of Ecclesiastes wrote:
“Do not curse the king even in your thoughts” (Ecclesiastes 10:20).
HT: Benjamin Myers at Faith and Theology
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
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