This article was originally published in Edition (3) of Prayer Magazine, Summer 2005.

Great Leadership Prayers from the Bible – Samson

Judges 16:28 ‘Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “O Sovereign LORD, remember me, O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow, get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” (NIV)

Samson led a powerful life as a Judge of Israel and was blessed by the Lord; but he often exhibited pride, self-interest, greed and lust. He had a weakness when it came to the opposite sex, and his anger often got the better of him. Despite his character deficiencies, God’s spirit was upon Samson, and his anger was often channelled for Godly purposes.

We often think of him as a leader with a fatal flaw, a flaw that led to his untimely death. Until his downfall at the scheming hands of Delilah, Samson never really ‘sees’ who the Lord is and certainly doesn’t see the world around him with God’s eyes. It takes the desperate situation of being physically blinded for Samson to begin to see with proper spiritual insight.

Only then, does he say, ‘Sovereign Lord’ and for the first time he begins to put the Lord in charge of his life. If he’d done that from the beginning, then things would have been very different. He certainly used his God-given abilities, especially his strength and his bravery, but too often he used them for his own gain and not to honour the Lord.

Eventually, his greatest and most selfless victory, was his last. He only learnt his great leadership lesson in his very last prayer, with his dying breath. Samson had real trouble in accepting the Lordship of God Almighty, and too often had relied on his own judgement and actions rather than being subject to the authority of the Lord. In his final act on this earth, in the temple and surrounded by thousands of jeering onlookers, Samson killed more Philistines when he died than when he lived.

With his desperate prayer to God, he turned disgrace and defeat, humiliation and suffering, into triumph. When Samson’s hair had been cut off, the Bible tells us that not only was it his strength that deserted him, but that the Lord had left him also.

With his final cries, Samson was re-united with the Living Lord God who did indeed remember him. This was an irony actually, because Samson often lived his life as if he had forgotten God and not the other way around. It’s never too late to cry out to God for strength but it doesn’t have to follow failure.

The leader who recognises that God is almighty and sovereign, is the leader who sees the situation as it really is.

“Sovereign Lord… please strengthen me…” should be one of our first prayers, not just our last.

Nigel James

(Nigel is a director of Ignite – a youth ministry based out of Cardiff)


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