Praying for Righteousness

This entry is part 12 of 13 in the series Prayer Models

Everyone wants justice in our world, even convicted criminals. It’s a common joke on all the TV shows that if you are in prison and ask anyone what they did, they say, “I didn’t do it.” But standing in the prison yard with the fence all around them in orange declares a different verdict.

We are fascinated with courtrooms and judges. But there is a Judge whose verdicts are always correct. He has perfect perspective and sees every angle. He declares the truth every time. But our world is not the same.

People cry out against the rich who can buy their way out of prison. Many social groups fight for what they think is fair. They gather together so that they feel they are getting a good shake. Meanwhile, some innocent people are sentenced as though they are guilty.

Jesus is a prime example. He was innocent and sinless, yet they hung him from a cross. Anytime we feel that justice has been violated, we lash out. We never forgive. We were wronged and that person needs to pay.

In this combative environment, we need to pray for righteousness more than anything. I am glad that God is the perfect Judge. Scripture tells us that we don’t need to fight our own battles. The Lord will take vengeance on whom he takes vengeance in the end (Romans 12:19; Hebrews 10:30).

The breastplate for the Roman soldier protected all of the vital organs. When we act in righteousness and provide justice, we protect everyone involved. Righteousness protects our heart from going through the anger and betrayal of wrong decisions.

We work for God in this world and we walk his path. We need to have his righteousness. We must demonstrate God’s righteousness to this world. We must be above reproach (Colossians 1:22; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6, 7).

We don’t do that on our own. How do we pray for righteousness in a world of wickedness? How do we live above reproach and have the reputation of a righteous person? What does it mean to be righteous?

We need God’s righteousness because Isaiah declares that our righteousness is like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). We don’t have God’s perfect vision and perspective. We don’t see all of the sides of the situation.

Righteousness is the characteristic of doing the right thing in every situation. Now the right thing could be what we think is right. But true righteousness is God’s righteousness. We do what God would do in every situation.

That’s how we all know we can’t do it our way. Righteousness has to be something declared by God. It has to line up with his standards of justice. That’s why the Bible teaches that we put on the righteousness of Christ (Ephesians 4:24; Philippians 3:9; Galatians 3:7).

If righteousness is the internal character to do the right thing, the action of righteousness is called justice. Justice is providing the right result that God agrees with. You can see that this requires God’s input. We can’t just make our own decisions. We need his guidance.

And this is where prayer comes in. In some situations God has already provided guidance. The Bible tells us what we need to do in black and white. But there are other circumstances where we do not have clear direction.

This is when we rely on prayer. We go to God for the sticky situations in life. Some of the best decisions we make are on our knees. It’s not weakness to ask God’s guidance. It is a strength no one in the world has but Christians.

Here are some tips on how to pray for God’s righteousness to intervene in every situation:

  • Begin your prayer by laying out the situation before God. Explain to him the difficulties of getting it right for everyone involved. Tell him the problems you are having making the decision.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to bring scriptures that may apply to your mind. Search the Scriptures prayerfully. Listen to the Holy Spirit when he makes a passage stick in your mind.
  • Meditate on the answers you find in Scripture and that the Holy Spirit brings to your mind. I know that I have received the right answer from the Lord. I would never have thought of these answers on my own. That’s how you know he gave you the answer.
  • Ask God for wisdom on how to communicate with each person involved. Ask him to give you the right attitude and tone as you speak to them.
  • Pray for each person involved that they will have an open heart when you deal with the situation. God will make everything work out.
  • Thank God for the answer and the ability to mediate the situation. Continue to thank him for his wisdom given to you that the world does not have.

Sometimes we don’t go to God when we should. We try to make our own decisions without his wisdom. Things don’t turn out so well. And all we can do is look back and wish we had asked God what to do.

Always go to God first. He is waiting to hear from us. He has perfect perspective and wants to share it with us. He wants us to do the right thing just like he does. He is our resource for wise decisions that work out perfectly every time.

If you had a tool in your toolbox that you knew would do the job, why would you use another tool? Let’s always ask our Lord to provide the guidance and answers we need right when we need them. He is never late and he’s always right.

How do you do the right thing in every situation? Leave a comment and let me know how you pray for righteousness in your own life and in our world.

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