Praying for vengence, praying for mercy
Recently, syndicated radio talk-show host Dennis Prager asked: "Would God consider it ’good’ for me to pray for him to immediately (and humanely) kill the top 1 percent of the world’s worst evildoers? Yes or no? Why or why not?"
My gut reaction? Yes! Absolutely! Off with their heads! Zap ’em with lightning bolts!
But…on second thought…
I find too often we are ready to condemn people, asking God to enact his judgement upon them. Instead I think we should follow the model of Abraham
Then Abraham drew near, and said, "Wilt thou indeed destroy the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; wilt thou then destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from thee to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from thee! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" And the LORD said, "If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake."
But Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, "O LORD, why does thy wrath burn hot against thy people, whom thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, `With evil intent did he bring them forth, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth'? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou didst swear by thine own self, and didst say to them, `I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it for ever.'" And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do to his people.