Psalm 61. A Great Leadership Prayer.

Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 61. (MsgB) 

A David Psalm.

Let the days of the king add up to years and years of good rule.
Set his throne in the full light of God; post Steady Love and Good Faith as lookouts,
And I’ll be the poet who sings Your glory—and live what I sing every day.

At first glance, being king sounds like a pretty cushy job.

Lots of perks. Servants waiting on you hand and foot. A nice palace with all the amenities. An army surrounding you, protecting your stuff. Food and entertainment whenever you want it. And just one requirement. Rule in such a way that your people don’t revolt against you and your enemies don’t invade your land and kill you.

Have a nice day.

King David seems to have a pretty good handle on the challenges of this king-sized job he had. Sure, he understands the privilege associated with such a position, but from my reading of Psalm 61, he also fully embraces the big challenges that go along with the position as well. Back in his day, becoming king, you see, wasn’t accomplished through ballot boxes and national elections. Bloody wars were fought over who would be king. A sword and shield were necessary to stay in power lest your enemies both outward and within decided your time of ruling was up.

Bottom line. Serving as king in David’s day wasn’t an easy gig.

Thus we find King David here in Psalm 61 pleading to his God to stand beside him as he serves God’s people as their king. And not only is David asking for Holy Providence to sustain his kingship for years and years, he is also seeking God that his rule and reign, regardless of its longevity, will be a godly one as well.

How refreshing it is to see this kind of transparency, asking God to keep the king and his rule “in the full light of God.” Hmm. Too bad more kings, presidents and rulers aren’t asking for such things today!

But David doesn’t stop there! He goes on to ask God to post Steady Love and Good Faith as lookouts around his rule. Wow. When was the last time you heard a leader in our generation asking for such things?

Finally, David concludes his kingly prayer by telling God that his job as ruler over the people is to be “a poet who sings of God’s Glory,” living out each day, with integrity, the words he’s singing to God.


No wonder King David became God’s prototype for what a good leader is supposed to look like down here on planet earth.

As I see it, David’s humble prayer here in Psalm 61 needs to become the prayer of any man or woman who is appointed by God to lead others. How about it, fellow pastors and leaders? Maybe our prayers for success in leadership need to be revamped? Rather than asking God for more power and authority over the people we serve, we need to model our leadership prayers after these humble words of King David?

Here…let me go first.

My prayer: Father, You have appointed me to lead Your people. I humbly accept that position but know that if left to my own devices, I will misuse that power and authority for my own selfish purposes. Let the days of my leadership add up to years and years of good rule. Set my decisions and corresponding actions in the full light of God. Post Steady Love and Good Faith as lookouts for me. And with the help of Your Spirit, may I be a poet who sings Your glory—and live what I sing every day. For Your name’s sake. Amen.

My questions to ponder: When was the last time I stopped long enough in my leading to evaluate what kind of leader I actually am? Do my words and actions align with the leadership prayer of King David found in Psalm 61? If not, what needs to change in me in order to transform my leadership role into one that reflects the simple truths found in David’s prayer?

So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?

Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Sustainable Faith-Heartland network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.

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