A Prayer for Public Leaders

Just a few weeks ago a British prime minister was forced to resign due to a lack of integrity and character. That event was triggered when a front bench MP heard a sermon at a Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast, felt convicted about the need for integrity in public life and resigned, prompting other resignations until the PM had to step down.

Today an historic 1 million people will line London’s streets, and a record 4 billion people watch worldwide, as the Queen is bid farewell. Over 500 heads of state have come to pay her tribute—kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers—while all week thousands have queued for up to fourteen hours at a time, making a line so long it was visible from space, just for a few seconds by her coffin. Why?

Images from Royal.uk

There will be many reasons, but one stands out: 

Because even if we disagree with the idea of monarchy or still grapple with the ramifications of empire, even if the shroud of mystery over her kept any missteps she made from public view, even if she couldn’t always inspire her family to follow her example, in this woman, for seven decades, we have seen some semblance of integrity and character in public life.

Today the world gathers to watch a queen leave. Imagine the day it gathers to watch its final King arrive (Revelation 21). That King was this Queen’s inspiration, she told us, and today as her funeral carries hymns and sermons worldwide, in a time when more than one public leader is failing the integrity test, may a conviction grow in all of us for integrity and character too.

A Prayer for Public Leaders

(Drawn from Psalm 72)

Give a love of justice to our leaders, O God,

and a heart of integrity to their children.

Help them to lead your people rightly,

always treating the poor fairly.

May they defend the oppressed and those suffering violence,

because those lives are precious to them.

May their rule be refreshing, like spring rain on freshly cut grass.

   May goodness mark their days,

and the hills of our land yield prosperity for all.

May our leaders fear You—

as long as the sun shines,

as long as the moon remains in the sky.

Yes, Lord, forever.

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