Praying for Politicians

Maybe the Book of Judges, our Old Testament reading at today’s Mass, can offer some perspective on the election process going on in our country now.

The Book of Judges describes the period in Jewish history from the death of Joshua, who led the Israelites in their conquest of the promised land of Canaan, till the installation of Saul as Israel’s first king by the prophet Samuel. During that time, the Israelites were spread out in various parts of Canaan and were led by local leaders, “judges”, a Hebrew word that doesn’t mean people who preside in courts, but ordinary leaders like mayors or city managers or local chiefs.

Without an overall leader, the Israelites were prey to stronger enemies. Eventually, they realized they needed a king, like Saul and David and Solomon, but in this period they were small vulnerable pockets of people living throughout the land.

Gideon and his frightened community are described in today’s reading. They’re taking to the hills to escape marauding bands of Midianites. God calls Gideon to lead his people against them, but he shrinks from the call; he’s a poor farmer who can hardly take care of his own vineyard. He has no talent, no experience or strength, he says.

“Go with the strength you have,” was God’s message to him.

We’re certainly a divided people today; we may wonder is there’s anyone who can unite us and lead us? Is there anyone adequate to govern us?

The Book of Judges says that the “Spirit of the Lord” can come upon the weakest and transform them into leaders, as it did Gideon. A leader’s not made from human qualities alone, or political contributions or a powerful media that promotes one’s cause.The political world is not off-limits to the spiritual. The Spirit can move in the world of politics as in other areas of life, enhancing the strength one has, giving eyes to see and a mind to understand.

We may not pray for politicians enough.

1 thought on “Praying for Politicians

  1. Gloria

    Dear Fr. Victor, I wrote this as an election season was drawing to a close –
    and I was up-to-here with all that campaigns entail. On the other hand,
    we do pray for politicians, and hope each and every one of them is invaded and occupied by the Spirit of God!!


    They wear expensive clothes.
    They live in expensive houses in
    expensive neighborhoods.
    They eat expensive lunches and dinners.
    They travel all over the face of the earth
    at We the People’s expense.
    They drop the legislative process
    to vacation or campaign.
    They talk in contradictions or riddles.
    They vote themselves raises and perks.
    They are not public servants, but rather
    they are self-serving.
    They cherish their own political parties
    and look for the worst
    in the opposite party.
    They put political party first,
    ahead of “We, the People”.

    What about “We, the People”?
    What about Government of the People,
    by the People, for the People?
    Where are we in all this top heavy,
    upper management system of
    They don’t seem to hear what we say
    or think.
    They want us to think the way they think.
    They tell us what they want us to hear.
    They make promises they can’t keep.

    Do they think “We, the People” are stupid?
    Evidently they do.
    Evidently “We, the People” well may be.
    We, the People keep allowing it to go on.

    Gloria Ziemienski
    August 21, 2004


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