Ok, I have to jump in on this one. But before I do, let me know share a real story.
25 years ago I was preaching in a small church in Kansas. It was a mess. I was told before going to the church that they were basically a strong congregation that just needed a good teacher. When I got there I found something different. Among the many outrageous things I encountered was that one of the four elders was being investigated for child abuse (physical). When I talked to him more deeply about where he was in his faith (I had already done so in the interview, but obviously didn’t hear the truth) he confessed to me that he really wasn’t sure he even believed there was a God. He then informed me in no uncertain terms that if I tried to have him removed as an elder “I’ll split this church wide open!”.
I shared the conversation with the chair of the elders. We talked about different options, and then he said, “Maybe we just need to ask the Lord to take him”.
I was a bit confused. “Did you just suggest we pray he dies?”
“Well, sometimes you just have to ask the Lord to do whatever it takes. Tell you what, I’ll pray for it”.
In my short tenure as the preacher of that church, I buried only one elder. Want to guess which one? Within a period of months the elder praying that the other would die died unexpectedly himself. Yeah. God has a sense of humor.
Now I hear about so-called Christians praying (or joking about praying?) for President Obama to die.
I am probably as theologically conservative or more so than most reading this, but I have to tell you this blows my mind. Enough to make me wonder if anyone doing this actually knows the Lord. The Lord I know told us to pray for our rulers–even to pray for those who persecute us! He told us to love and to forgive. He gave his life for people who hated him–and he did it intentionally.
Followers of Jesus do not mock our Lord and his work by praying–or joking about praying–for someone to die. Anyone who knows our Lord should be horrified by this.
I’m not being judgmental–I never presume to know who is and isn’t “saved”. I can’t see someone’s heart. But John says: “The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (1 John 2:4)
When I see someone who claims to know the Lord praying for the death of another, I find myself seriously scared for the person doing this.