Should Christians pray imprecatory prayers?


(SeanO) #1

Imprecatory prayers are prayers for God’s judgment to fall on wicked people. Below I have a definition of imprecatory psalms from theopedia and then two articles - one from Piper and one from The Gospel Coalition - on whether or not the Christian should pray imprecator prayers. The Gospel Coalition article was written while ISIS was doing terrible things.

My question: What is your personal perspective on imprecatory prayers? Have you ever thought about it before? What do you think our approach should be and what is your reason? The Lord Jesus guide our discussion.

Here is the definition of an imprecatory prayer given by theopedia:

https://www.theopedia.com/imprecatory-psalms

Imprecatory psalms are those psalms that contain curses or prayers for the punishment of the psalmist’s enemies. To imprecate means to invoke evil upon, or curse. Psalms 7, 35, 55, 58, 59, 69, 79, 109, 137 and 139 all contain prayers for God’s judgment on the psalmist’s enemies. Example imprecatory statements from the Psalms follow:

"Let death take my enemies by surprise; let them go down alive to the grave."Psalm 55:15

“O God, break the teeth in their mouths.” Psalm 58:6

“May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous.” Psalm 69:28

"May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow."Psalm 109:9

“How blessed will be the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.” Psalm 137:9


Nonviolence Requires Divine Judgment
How does one reconcile David’s statement in Ps 139:21-22 with Christ’s teaching?
(Jamie Hobbs) #2

In the OT there was a lot of this:

Thus let all Your enemies perish, O Lord!
– Judges 5:31a

Then in the NT there’s much more of this:

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
– Matthew 5:43-44

I don’t think Jesus gives us much room to pray curses down on our enemies when He specifically says, “bless those who curse you”.


(SeanO) #3

@Jamie_Hobbs Great point! To take the discussion a little deeper, what do you make of the fact that even Jesus quotes from imprecatory Psalms and that Paul talks of his adversaries in a way that sounds very much like an imprecatory Psalm in Galatians?

In John 15:25, Jesus quotes Psalm 35:19 and 69:4. Paul also quoted an imprecatory prayer in Romans 11:9–10, which is a quote of Psalm 69:22–23.

Got Questions Article

Galatians 5:11-12 - Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12 As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!


(Sanchia_J) #4

I didn’t even know there was a thing called imprecatory prayers :confounded: I just assumed the OT “Let my enemies perish!” prayers were expressions of exasperation and frustration.

I think praying curses on enemies is contradictory to God’s message of love and forgiveness. James 3 says: 8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. 11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? (KJV)

My understanding is that John 15:25 needs to be taken in context. John 15:18-25 talks about getting comfort during persecution. In John 1: 1-14 we read that The Word was light of men…and that it shines in the darkness, but the darkness does not understand it. It later states that “…He came unto his own, and his own received him not…” I believe that this scripture sets the tone: the world did not know God, it did not understand God, and as a result it hated God.

In John 15:18 Jesus says that the world hated him first without reason, and its the same world that he laid his life down for. I believe that Jesus quoted the Psalms as a reference or as fulfillment of the Old Testament? and to provide encouragement to his disciples, as if saying: “You will be persecuted, but cheer up, these things were meant to happen”.

Thinking about it, I think that the imprecatory prayer Jesus “prayed” was when he cursed the fig tree? What do you think?

As for Paul, its my understanding that he was writing to express frustration at the persecution the early church was going through. I don’t think he meant hailing down divine curses, because in verse 13 he goes on to say “…but by love, serve one another…” And from what I read about Paul, it doesn’t sit right that he can talk about cursing enemies of the Faith (when he himself was one) and then immediately talk about love and serving one another.

Maybe there’s a place for it under the leading of the Holy Spirit? :woman_shrugging:

Edited for typos.


(SeanO) #5

@ClairDeLune Thank you for those thoughts. After thinking about this issue more, I think one of the things we are struggling with is that we ought to love our enemies and imprecatory prayers seem contrary to love. But we must remember that God is love and He judges. In fact, as I will show below, the saints in Heaven pray for God’s judgment to come down upon the earth! I think, for me, a summary statement would be:

We should always desire that the wicked repent and turn to God, but we can simultaneously pray for justice for the oppressed, orphan and widow which naturally involves the overthrow of wicked, oppressive people and regimes

A significant verse is Romans 12:9, where Paul tells us not to seek vengeance, but to leave vengeance to God.

Romans 12:19 - Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

And guess what - we find in Revelation 6:10 an imprecatory prayer from the saints in Heaven - They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”

But what is the difference between the imprecatory prayer of the saints and vengeance? For the Christian, vengeance is the Lord’s - He will judge. We should desire the judgment of the wicked, but it is God who ultimately judges. The imprecatory prayers of the saints are for God to bring justice to a broken world

An Article from Gordon

Here is a fuller article from Gordon that contained an excerpt about Jesus and the fig tree that I thought you may find interesting. It discusses the issue of imprecatory prayer at a higher level and provides some good thoughts for discussion.

"And initially, this yearning for God’s just vengeance on the inveterately wicked that we find in the Psalms is far from evil—Jesus himself was known to display the rage evoked by stubborn sin. Prominent in this regard are: “He looked around at them in anger, deeply grieved at their stubborn hearts” (Mark 3:5), and “Snakes! Brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to Gehenna?!” [28] (Matt 23:33). In both cases Christ was reacting against the hardened unbelief and opposition of the religious leaders of his day. Although neither of these statements is strictly imprecatory, they do bear the same sense and intensity: they exhibit a similar sentiment (i.e., the yearning for divine vengeance) [29] expressed through a similar emotional state (i.e., rage), which are the cornerstones of Brueggemann’s contention that the imprecations in the Psalms are indeed evil. And if this is the example of the supremely ethical Jesus, then a righteous “rage” has been reclaimed. In addition, an instance of actual imprecation from the lips of Christ is recorded in Mark 11:12-14, 20-21 (cf. Matt 21:18-20). As both the near context and the larger development of the Gospel elucidate, Christ’s cursing of the fig tree is a not-so-veiled imprecation against faithless and fruitless Israel—an Israel who had so stubbornly rejected him. [30]

Moreover, weighted against the contention that the Imprecatory Psalms pulsate with the venom of malice and revenge is the sheer volume of Imprecatory Psalms in the Psalter. If imprecations or calls for divine vengeance against the inveterately evil or unjust are to be construed as expressions of the faithful believer’s dark side—even if intended as a teaching tool, how is the inclusion in the Psalter of such a disproportionately large contingent of imprecations to be explained? Indeed, their prevalence in the Book of Worship by those of established piety [31] lends credence to the opinion that such cries are to be embraced as the believer’s justified appeal to divine power and rectification in the midst of human powerlessness and oppression, rather than utterances to be desperately avoided."

Paper from Gordon

What further thoughts or questions come to mind?


(Jamie Hobbs) #6

Sorry, @SeanO, but I can’t follow you on this one. Which is OK, it was bound to happen eventually. :wink:
Jesus said “bless those who curse you”. He didn’t leave room for anything else. Yes, vengeance is His, justice is His. I can trust that those things will come to pass without reminding Him of it. What I’ve been told to do, while immensely difficult, is summed up in the following.

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, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
– Matthew 5:43-48

To speak to your previous response, the quotations of Jesus (from Ps 35:19, 69:4) and Paul (from Ps 69:22-23) were not them making imprecatory prayers, but them pulling out a portion of such prayers to show that prophecy has been fulfilled. In Gal 5:11-12, Paul is not giving an imprecatory prayer as he is not praying at all. He is a zealot as we well know, and there are times his zeal comes out in this manner. In 1 Cor 7, he even says “The Lord is not saying this, but I am…” I do think we’re close to pulling Scriptures out of context on this one. Regardless, when there’s a question, we should look to the standard, that being Jesus, which takes me back to “bless those who curse you” in the pursuit of perfection.


(SeanO) #7

@Jamie_Hobbs I appreciate your response. I think the human instinct is toward vengeance and so I think the greatest reminder that we need is to bless those who curse us.

How do you understand the saints’ cry for vengeance in Revelation?

Revelation 6:10 - They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?"


(C Rhodes) #8

@SeanO. Hi. I relate to King David’s prayers because I think as you have said. It is instinctual to want the “owies” to stop. To banish the source of my discomfort and pain. But, once when asking the Lord to avenge me of my adversary he replied; “sure, as long as you are okay with being measured by the measure you want me to use.” I replied, “raze out Lord, never mind!” (Matthew 7:2 kjv)

Our Lord is clear about the role of vengeance. He declares it belongs to Him. (Romans 12:19-21 kjv) I think perhaps people struggle with those implications. In our simplicity, we will not accept that a loving GOD would ever judge or punish us. He will and He does. According to His Word, it starts with the household of Faith. (1 Peter 4:17 kjv)

I find no fault for the grief someone feels that drives a desire to be vindicated. But those desires must also be relinquished to the authority of GOD. Those feelings come, it is part of the human packaging. But everything must be taken to GOD in prayer. When we do not, it multiplies the impact of the misery.

You mess with me, yeah, I’m going to tell on you. I may even say in my despair or anger what I would like to happen to you. Because of course, GOD needs me to outline that solution for Him. (giggles)

When I fail to leave vengeance for Him, then you had better believe, GOD deals with me. He deals as lovingly with my error as He does with my tormentor’s. So, I may feel you deserve a good ole fashioned zap from the mountaintop. And you probably do. But in my experience, prayer for an enemy is more likely about preserving them from destruction during GOD’s judgment. Then to appease my injuries. Somebody has to pray for that dummy.

When the Lord kicks butt, it is always much more devastating than anything I would have chosen to do to you. (Hebrew 10:31 kjv) GOD’s curses are about redemption. If it appears to be more, then as old folks once said, “a hard head makes for a soft bottom.” I will trust GOD with my enemy just like I do with myself.


(SeanO) #9

@cer7 Great thoughts! I think you provided a very balanced reply. God will judge - justice will come, but vengeance belongs to the Lord; not to us. So we can freely pray for our enemies to find God’s mercy while knowing that injustice will one day be set to rights when God reigns forevermore. By handing that anger at injustice over to God, we can both acknowledge the severity of evil and seek the healing of those who have committed evil acts by demonstrating the same mercy God showed us in Christ Jesus.


(Jamie Hobbs) #10

I’m always hesitant to address interpretations of Revelation. It’s murky water to be sure, and often it encites emotional responses from people, even unto division. As Revelation is written in an apocalyptic literary style, I can’t come right out and say that the events of Rev 6:10 are meant to be seen in a completely literal fashion. But to make the assumption that it is for a moment, what we have are impatient people in Heaven. How long must we wait…? I don’t know if the concept of punctuality, boredom, or vengeance applies to us in a heavenly state, but at first blush it seems rather incompatible with how I picture Heaven. Another interpretation could be that John in his vision is seeing his own desire for justice manifested in that manner, accompanied by proof that God has not forgotten that justice. It simply isn’t time yet.

Understand that I’m not being dogmatic about any of this, as I’m no expert on Revelation. But as has been said by others, the desire for justice is not exactly the same as a longing for curses to fall upon an enemy. Rev 6:10 serves as a reminder for me that no one knows the ultimate time when ultimate justice will fall. But since it hasn’t happened yet, we still have time to bless those who curse us and pray for them to repent.


(SeanO) #11

@Jamie_Hobbs Thank you for those thoughts. The scene in Revelation 6:10 is certainly one that should cause us to ponder. As I am sure you are aware, there are 4 views of Revelation. Based on Steve Gregg’s book “Revelation: Four Views” I’ve summarized potential views of this passage. I agree it can cause division to get into details, but I think it is helpful to be aware of all possible understandings and, if anywhere, we should be able to consider these things on RZIM Connect, where we help the believer think.

No matter which view is taken, it is clear that the saints are under the altar, just as the blood of sacrifices was presented at the altar. They made their lives a sacrifice unto God and are before His throne.

Futurist

A commonly held view, Revelation refers mostly to future events. In this view, these saints are those who will suffer during the great tribulation.

Partial Preterist

According to this view, most of Revelation occurred prior to AD 70 and the destruction of Jerusalem, which in this view brought complete closure to the Old Covenant because the temple was destroyed. In this case, the saints were those martyred, such as the apostles, prior to God’s judgement on Jerusalem which Jesus predicted and they are crying out for justice.

Matthew 23:36 - And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.

Idealist

For the idealist, Revelation is mostly a symbol of the fact that the Kingdom of God will always be persecuted by the world until the end. It serves as a reminder for all saints at all times that one day God will reign victorious and He is aware of their suffering.

For the idealist, this vision of the martyrs reminds us that the saints of every age stand before God. They anticipate vindication, when their murderers will be brought to justice. G. K. Beale notes here that if the prayer for vengeance seems sub-Christian, we must remember that God’s reputation and people will be vindicated and that God is just.

Historicist

According to the historicist, Revelation foretells events that will occur throughout the rest of history. For example, historicists believe Revelation refers to events in 6th/7th centuries as well as today. This view is not commonly held to my knowledge.

According to Steve Gregg, historicists see these martyrs as those persecuted under Diocletian around 303 AD.


(Jimmy Sellers) #12

Reading this in light of modern history I am reminded of Gen George S Patton’s request for good weather so that his troops could kill the Nazi forces as the allied Army pushed through the bulge. Could we call this a imprecatory pray?


(SeanO) #13

@Jimmy_Sellers Thank you for the challenging question and the chance to learn some history! I had never heard of this prayer, but, as it turns out, General Patton did not write it. On the 14th of December Chaplain O’Neill wrote the prayer after being talked into it by Patton. At first the Chaplain did not want to write a prayer for the sake of doing violence, but after Patton insisted he pinned these words.

“Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.”

One thing I like about the Chaplain’s prayer is that he did not pray for God to fight for Patton’s army, but rather for God’s justice to be established among the nations. When the angel appeared to Joshua he made it clear he fought for the Lord and not for either army (Joshua 5:14). I think the Chaplain penned a wise prayer in this situation.

Back to your original question - is this prayer imprecatory? I would say yes - if we go strictly by what is written it calls for God’s justice on oppression and evil. But I am open to other opinions.


(Sandy) #14

Hello @Jamie_Hobbs, I concur with your statements on this. As far as I recall Jesus gave us one standard (not a recital) on how to pray - and nowhere in there is a call for vengeance or even justice. So @SeanO whatever we’re to make of Rev 6:10, it’s surely not an example of prayer to us, right?
I think it’s all been said above to remind us of who we are - and summed up in 1Cor 13:13 “And now abideth faith, hope, charity (love), these three; but the greatest of these is love”

Do we ever need to wonder at God’s judgment? Let’s look to the cross - where the judgment of the most Righteous and Just Judge of all was totally and completely carried out. My Loving Savior paying my debt in full once and for all! Dying for His enemies - yes, me…and you. Rom 5:10. “When I survey the wondrous cross”…and see what Jesus did for me…dare I call for justice? No…'cause He shewed me mercy and went far beyond to extend now His Grace everyday! We can trust Him. His ways and His thoughts so much higher! Praises be to the name of Jesus!


(SeanO) #15

@salee I definitely agree that we should always desire the wicked repent and share God’s love and truth with them and pray for them. But I also believe we should desire justice be done upon evil. For me, examining how God treats wicked men in Scripture is very helpful. Consider Ahab, one of the most wicked kings in Israel’s history.

In I Kings 21 God had just pronounced terrible judgment on Ahab and Jezebeel and the author of I Kings makes it clear that Ahab is a bad dude. But after hearing this judgment, Ahab repents and in a shocking display of mercy God relents from sending disaster. We see the same attitude with Nineveh when Jonah prophesies against them.

But we also see God destroy Jezebeel just as he promised and wipe out evil nations. So there is a balance here - God is always willing to forgive those who humble themselves. But he will judge the proud - such as Belshazzar who mocked God’s name and then saw the writing on the wall.

I agree it is not our place to judge, but I do not think the attitude of the saints in Revelation is wrong. They desire justice be done on the wicked - so does God. But God is also always willing to forgive those who will humble themselves and He earnestly desires that the wicked would repent - so should we (Ezekiel 33:11).

I Kings 21:25-29 - 25 (There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife. 26 He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the Lord drove out before Israel.)

27 When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly.

28 Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: 29 “Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son.”


(Sandy) #16

Hi Sean. God is judge of all the earth! But again, we can look to the Cross, not only in awe and gratitude for His love and for all that Christ has accomplished for us, but also with total ‘confidence’ in the ‘justice of God’ to deal with evil. We must not forget so as not to ever minimize the work of Jesus - that the sin of the ‘world’ was laid on Him! I don’t think any one of us will ever be able to fully grasp this here on earth…and ever know or understand what truly happened in those three hours when day became night as all our judgement fell on Jesus!
I recall now when I came to Christ, in such a place of questioning, coming to Psalm 37:1 “Fret not thyself because of evildoers…” But to “Trust in the LORD and do good…” v3. This was my constant for many months. I think this is what Father wants us to do instead…

We should absolutely detest sin and evil - and the more we grow in grace and fall in love with Jesus, this happens, first in ourselves - because we know and understand how much sin and evil cost God. But in answer to the question you posed…it’s already been said, we cannot curse and bless at the same time (or even at different times :)) Why? It is possible, right? But if, as we know God is concerned with our hearts, then out of a pure heart, really cannot come both.
Of course, if one is burdened, certainly they should bring it to God, to reset their minds to things pure and receive His peace. Phil 4:6-8. But this is different than praying those prayers.
Let’s also see how Jesus rebuked James and John saying “…Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of” Luke 9:55. Our God is certainly a God of justice…but Father’s heart truly delights in mercy. Micah 7:18. And so we really can trust Him and desire good for the evildoers. To His Glory we hear the awesome testimonies all the time of glorious and radical turnarounds! Which reminds me…just keep preaching the Gospel of Grace…we have the answer to the evil we hate! Don’t we? Hallelujah! :heart_eyes:
Thanks again for the question Sean.
Be well!


(SeanO) #17

@salee Thank you for your response. I think you are pointing out a very important implication of the Gospel and the teachings of Christ - that we should bless and pray for those who persecute us. Paul clearly teaches in Romans 12 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good”. However, Romans 12 also says "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. So the key to overcoming evil with good is recognizing that God will bring justice on the wicked and it is not our job.

Below I am going to consider the example of David regarding imprecatory prayer, but I acknowledge that David lived before the time of Christ. I agree that we should always hope for the restoration of the wicked and their repentance - which I believe God did in the OT and NT, since God is the same yesterday, today and forever. But I think these thoughts may provide food for more discussion / nuance.

Regarding James, I believe there is a difference between cursing someone made in God’s image and an imprecatory prayer. King David - who prayed imprecatory prayers and was a man after God’s own heart - is a great example. We cannot say that his heart was not pure in the sense that James is describing.

I think two things about David’s approach stand out:

  • When David prays imprecatory prayers, he appeals to the fact that he is not at fault in the situation / has not transgressed God’s law to his knowledge (otherwise he would need to repent)
  • When David prays imprecatory prayers, he appeals to the fact that his enemies have transgressed God’s laws and asks that the evil they have done be brought upon their own heads that the innocent may be delivered from their oppression

Psalms 25:33-34 - Fight to defend me, Lord God,
24 and prove that I am right
by your standards.

Psalms 18:20 - The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.

Psalms 59:3-5 - For behold, they lie in wait for my life;
fierce men stir up strife against me.
For no transgression or sin of mine, O Lord,
4 for no fault of mine, they run and make ready.
Awake, come to meet me, and see!
5 You, Lord God of hosts, are God of Israel.
Rouse yourself to punish all the nations;
spare none of those who treacherously plot evil.

Here is an article from Bible.org that discusses David’s imprecatory prayers in a way that I thought was helpful.

‘Imprecations are prayers for the punishment of the wicked. While the psalmist is innocent, his enemies are not. This is the basis for his petition for the punishment of the wicked. We are taught in Proverbs that a curse without basis has no effect: “Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying, so a curse without cause does not alight’ (Prov. 26:2)."

“Since the wicked love to curse, let cursing come to them (v. 17a). They withheld blessing, so blessings should be withheld from them (v. 17b). Cursing was like a garment to the wicked (v. 18a), so let it become his only clothing (vv. 18b-19). Let all who would accuse David stand accused before God (v. 20). David has thus asked no more than for God to do as He has promised and as the wicked deserve.”

I thought this Gospel coalition did a fair job of summarizing the various ways in which we pray for our enemies.

  • pray for their conversion
  • pray the evil they do may be restrained
  • pray for divine justice

(Sandy) #18

Hello Sean! It’s been a while but I’m so glad to finally be able to get back to our discussion. Having just come through VBS and begun a new elective, I’m quickly reminded of the time commitment needed. With a heart for the next generation, as I look around me, hear the stats on the few that remain in church after high school, but yet encouraged by info and even proofs from within family, to hear they’re looking for ‘real’…for the ‘genuine’…I’m also trying to keep up and stay in tuned with what RZIM’s doing for the youth so I can do more than look on. The Kingdom needs them in all aspects of life.
Lastly, this has required much thought and study on a topic new to me. As with someone else, I don’t think I’d even ever heard the word used before. So…back to the question…

I realize this, more than anything else can be an extremely personal issue, and understanding the questioner behind the question is important to remember - how to respond to evil…but even, or should it be, ‘especially’ in this we must understand God’s heart…and Father’s heart is for us - for our ultimate and ‘best’ good…if you will.

When I read those, I’m reminded of God’s amazing grace to me…and trust His ways…therefore able to pray His will be done. And when I find His will is that none should perish…I can pray for their good - not for evil to befall them. Prov :24:17 says “Do not gloat when your enemy falls…”

I do believe though Sean, this might be the key to our differing views. Let’s look at Rom 12:19-21. I think we can “give place unto wrath” in not seeking revenge but leaving it to God, knowing what He’s said about vengeance. But we overcome evil with good…by giving the ‘enemy’ food and drink…“for in so doing thou shalt heaps coals of fire on his head”.

Please allow me to refer back to your own thoughts earlier on and I’ll agree with those sentiments.

We can pray God’s will be done when we don’t understand situations. Still so much of God’s will can be known and truly understanding what Spirit we are of, as children of a new and better covenant, in the age of His Grace, I believe that with His help and by His grace, we can overcome evil with good for in our weakness His strength is made perfect! And yet we must know that evil will only increase all the more 2Tim. Yet still this is “the acceptable year of the LORD”, (thankfully) though certainly there is coming “the day of vengeance of our God”. Luke 4/Is 61. Thanks be to God for His omniscience, His omnipotence and His omnipresence!!!

Thank you once again Sean!


(SeanO) #19

@salee It sounds like you are staying fruitfully engaged helping young people know Jesus. That is great to hear! Your line of thought is not quite clear to me, but I think we both agree that we can pray for our enemies and do good unto them - which is very important. I praise God for people such as yourself who are willing to consider praying that all people might know the truth and be healed from the consequences of sin.

From my perspective, I think we differ in that I believe the Bible allows us room to express our cries for justice upon those who do evil while also desiring that those same people would turn from their wicked ways. As I read Scripture, God Himself both condemns the wicked and takes no pleasure in their destruction, desiring that they would repent and find life.

The Lord be with you in your ministry!


(Melvin Greene) #20

I’ve been reading through this thread and there have been some great responses. I know I’m coming into this a little late, but if you all will indulge me, I would like to throw something out there.

I am in agreement that we shouldn’t be in the habit of praying curses on our enemies. We should not rejoice in the destruction of the wicked. I know it’s already been said, but it bears repeating that Jesus tells us to love our enemies and bless those who curse us. I have struggled mightily with doing that for someone who has hurt me. I feel like a hypocrite when I pray for their blessing and salvation. Something came to my mind one time when I was praying for someone for whom I had some very strong feelings toward. He was a politician who was supporting very harmful and anti-christian legislation. I felt that I should pray for him, that God would give him wisdom and that he would accept Christ as his savior. The thought was that in praying for his salvation, I could be possibly praying for some pain and suffering to come into his life. After all, most people’s experience with coming to know the Lord as their savior has been through some very tough times. Now, that is definitely not an imprecatory prayer for I was truly wanting him to be saved. So, what I am saying is that when we pray for our enemies and those who set themselves up against the One true God, we could be praying into their lives some pain and suffering that would hopefully lead to salvation.

One other thing. I’ve often wondered why the psalms of David that call down curses on his, and God’s, enemies are included with the other psalms of thanksgiving, worship and supplication. It strikes me as odd, because I agree that I don’t think that God wants us to pray in that fashion. I think that these psalms of imprecatory prayers shows us that we can be totally honest with God about our feelings towards are enemies. God knows already how we feel. I just think that God wants us to be totally open with Him. I always counsel the vets that I minister to, that it’s ok to vent their feelings to me. I told them that I wouldn’t be offended. It is therapeutic to talk out strong negative feelings. It helps in the healing process. I believe it is the same way when we pray. I’ve confessed many times my anger with people. I do feel better in getting that out, and I know God understands that.