6-16: Power of Prayer … in Context

Blogger It’s the Supreme Court, Stupid was one of many who commented on the story below, which quotes from the middle of Psalm 109.

Georgia Senator Prays for Obama’s Death — in Public

Sen. David Perdue is the junior senator from Georgia. He’s known in the Senate as a nice, modest guy — not one of the bomb throwers, by any means.

 Here is how the prayer he encouraged the audience to make for Obama continues from verses 8-14:

Let his days be few; and let another take his office.

Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.

Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places.

Let the extortioner catch all that he hath; and let the strangers spoil his labour.

Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children.

Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out.

Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the Lord; and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out.

The title of Psalm 109 is

“Prayer of a Person Falsely Accused”

Does the senator or his righteous followers know that? The first 8 verses read as follows:

  1. Oh God, whom I praise, do not be silent,
  2. for wicked and treacherous mouths attack me. / They speak against me with lying tongues;
  3. with hateful words they surround me, / attacking me without cause.
  4. In return for my love they slander me, / even though I prayed for them.
  5. They repay me evil for good, / hatred for my love. / My enemies say of me:
  6. “Find a lying witness, / an accuser to stand by his right hand,
  7. That he may be judged and found guilty, / that his plea may be in vain.

Perhaps the senator’s fellow Bible quoters and he would be more credible if they did not cite verses out of full context. There is an adage whose origin is unknown to me that Perdue et al. might consider: Be careful what you pray for, you might get it.

There is also a saying whose source is unknown to me: There are no atheists in foxholes. I don’t know if that is true or not. But in war, at least for me, the relationship with my maker is complicated. Surely I prayed, but I can’t remember what for. That’s the truth.

I am a Catholic, and twice I participated in a rite known to us as “general absolution.” Basically the ritual went like this. A chaplain visits our camp the day before it is expected that there will be a heavy fight the next day and many will be killed on both sides. The priest does not lead us in a prayer that asks God to favor our side and win the body count game. Rather, the priest asks us to privately ask forgiveness of our sins–that’s our part of the deal. God’s part is to accept us directly into heaven if we are killed the next day.

Fortunately, I survived both battles. Unfortunately, I am still a sinner.


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