Mark D. Roberts


May your priests be clothed in godliness;
     may your loyal servants sing for joy.

Psalm 132 focuses on David and his concern for God’s “house” in
Jerusalem, the temple that David’s son Solomon would build. In this
context, the psalmist prays for the priests who served in the temple:
“May your priests be clothed in godliness; may your loyal servants sing
for joy” (132:9). The word translated here as “godliness” is tzedeq,
which is the basic Hebrew word for “righteousness.” Thus the verse
could be translated more literally, “Let your priests be clothed with
righteousness, and let your godly ones sing for joy.”

How much
do we need to pray like this today! The church continues to experience
the devastation that follows when Christian leaders fail to put on
righteousness. Sexual immorality, financial dishonesty, and hunger for
power have toppled many leaders, bringing dishonor upon the church and
weakening her ministry in the world. To be sure, our leaders need to
discipline their lives and build in avenues for accountability so that
they do not fall prey to temptations that lure them. But church leaders
will not be clothed in righteousness apart from the grace of God. And
for this reason, we must continually pray for them, that God will guide
them, bless them, and protect them.

As I write this, I think of
a dear friend at Irvine Presbyterian Church. Sam is now with the Lord,
but he was a faithful church member for most of my sixteen years as
senior pastor of the church. During that period of time, Sam told me
that he prayed for me about 500 times. Almost every Sunday after one of
my sermons, he’d come up and say something like, “Great word, Mark. I
pray for you all the time.” I can’t emphasize how much that meant to
me. I knew I needed lots of prayer, and I knew that Sam was praying.
What a great encouragement!

Though we don’t have priests serving
God in a literal temple, may Psalm 132:9 remind us to pray for our
Christian leaders, for pastors and priests, for ministers and elders,
for deacons and missionaries, for managers and CEOs, for teachers and
principals, for supervisors and vice presidents, and for all who serve
God as leaders in his church or in any institution. And then, if I
might add an extra word of advice, I’d urge you to follow Sam’s example
by letting your leaders know your are praying for them.

Do you pray for the leaders of your church or your workplace? What
might help you to pray for them more regularly? Is there someone in
particular for whom you should be praying these days? Is there someone
whom you should tell of your prayers?

PRAYER: Yes, Lord, may those who
serve as leaders be clothed in righteousness. May they honor you in
everything they do, both in their official roles and in their personal
lives. Where they are tempted to sin, give them strength to resist.
Help them to build into their lives contexts for support and
accountability that will help them when they are weak.

Lord, I pray specifically for those in official positions of leadership
in the church. I think of leaders in my own church . . . . [Pray for
your pastors, elders, staff, etc.]

In praying for leaders, Lord,
I am also reminded that you have called all of us into your service.
Even if we do not have official responsibilities, we are all your
servants, we are all called into your ministry. So, as I pray for
leaders, I also pray for all of your people, including me. May we be
clothed in the righteousness of Christ, living out our faith in the
world with integrity and humility.

I pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.


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