Should We Pray for Putin’s Demise?

Recently Nancy Kennedy the religion writer for our Citrus County Chronicle related receiving a letter from a reader asking if it was right to pray for the death of one’s enemy.

The reader said her preacher had prayed for Vladimir Putin’s demise, referring to him as “the evil one.”

Yesterday President Biden called Putin a “war criminal.” In view of the destruction of Ukraine, the attacks on hospitals, schools, and the death of civilian women and children, I can’t disagree with that.

However, the question is a legitimate one. Should I be praying for God to strike down Vladimir Putin?

Interestingly, the Psalmist often called upon God to destroy his enemies.

“Break the teeth in their mouths, O God,” cried David. “Let them vanish like water that flows away… Like a slug melting away as it moves along,
like a stillborn child, may they not see the sun (Ps. 58:6-8).

In another Psalm, he implored, “May ruin overtake them by surprise —may the net they hid entangle them, may they fall into the pit, to their ruin” (Ps. 35:8).

Then in Psalm 100, David pleads for judgment on his adversary. “May his days be few…may his children be fatherless…wandering beggars…and his wife a widow. May a creditor seize all he has…may the sin of his mother never be blotted out.”

These imprecatory psalms seem to be calling for vengeance. But more than that, they are sincere supplications for God’s justice and judgment upon those who do evil. They also contain an understanding of God’s majesty, sovereignty, and omniscience. In the end, David admits that God hates evil, He is the One who is the judge of the nations.

Furthermore, it’s important to note that David lived in a different era, under an imperfect law, and with a mission unlike ours.

In His radical Mountain Message, Jesus issues this challenge.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you”(Mt. 5:43-44).

Love, of course, doesn’t mean that we support, accept or tolerate the wickedness of ruthless rulers. It does call upon us, however, to not respond to evil with more evil. Or to hate with more hate.

An article in the Christian Chronicle reports villagers in Ukraine giving food and water to a captured Russian soldier. That is putting into practice the command, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink” (Romans 12:20).

In the same article, Jeremie Beller wrote, “Loving enemies is the refusal to play by their rules. It is an invitation to encounter the kingdom of God. When they hate, we love. If they curse, we bless. They seek harm. We seek good.”

“Love your enemy is the antidote to endless cycles of violence. The old rules changed nothing. Jesus offers a radically different approach.”

I read where one Christian in Ukraine said, “I know our battle is not against flesh and blood. I feel angry, but I don’t hate. I pray that through this, the Lord will draw Ukrainians, Russians, even Putin, and the world beyond, to himself and show them that there is a place for them with him.”

“{In Ukraine} our spiritual weapon is love,” said a minister in Kyiv, Sasha Prokopchuk. “It is impossible to defeat love. Therefore, evil has no chance.” So, Christians are still assembling, worshiping, singing, and praising God. People are being baptized.

Not only are the people in Ukraine an inspiration in courage, but the Christians in Ukraine inspire us to deeper devotion, greater love, and purer motives.

In the final analysis, I believe we should pray for peace. Pray for the people of Ukraine. Pray for Christians to keep the light shining. Pray for the hearts of evil men to be softened. Pray for our enemies. Pray that God’s will be done. And pray that our hearts might be right with God.

As one writer put it, “Let God handle your enemies. You just keep praying for them.”

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

2 Comments

Filed under Evil, Prayer

2 responses to “Should We Pray for Putin’s Demise?

  1. Amen a very timely post

    Like

  2. Pingback: Weekly Recap: April 3-8 | ThePreachersWord

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