Monday, July 14, 2008

Imprecatory Psalms

Psalm 109:1-20

Definition: praying down a curse on someone or some group/nation.

32 Psalms contain some of this kind of prayer. There are around 100 verses in those 32 psalms.

It is found in scripture - Old and New Testaments
It is never condemned. Jesus put His stamp of approval and the entire book of Psalms.


#1. Be Careful
with this stuff. It is NOT to be used lightly. It is not designed to use when someone has just "ticked" you off.

#2. It's used only in extreme situations.
In other words, A. constant, continual attack
B. attack when attempting to do right.

#3. When used personally, it's not for personal/petty offenses.
It's easy to abuse scripture to our own personal end. A good example: the health and wealth gospel.

#4. The 'cursed' is not only attacking the prayer but also attacking God (His goodness, Godliness, righteousness) In Psalm 83:1-4, the one being cursed is not only attacking the one praying, but God, and all that He stands for.

#5. Imprecatory prayers voice pain/indignation/etc.... and thereby serve as a catharsis. Psalm 137.

#6. Though the imprecatory prayer often suggests punishment due, it always leaves all the action and revenge with God!
It asks God to intervene and make a difference. Psalm. 94:1-3, Psalm 35:22-25, James 1:19 & 20
Generally, in anger, we act unrighteously. God doesn't give us permission to react to the situation. The command to the individual is to "turn the other cheek."

#7. The prayer for revenge is typically based on God's promises to us.
Genesis 12:2 & 3 - ".....I will bless those who bless you and curse him or curses you..."
Deut. 32:35 "Vengeance is Mine, and recompense, their foot shall slip in due time;...."
Therefore it must be OK to pray this.

#8. Imprecatory prayer is not merely a call for vengeance but also for God to reveal Himself. (as a God of power, justice, defender)
Psalm 83:13-18 - ".........Yes, let hem be put to shame and perish, that they may know that You, whose name alone is the LORD, are the Most High over all the earth."

#9. Imprecatory prayer is not entirely Old Testament.
Acts 8:20-24 - "But Peter said to him, 'Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money!...... Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.' "
2 Tim. 4:14 - "......may the Lord repay him according to his works..."
Rev. 6:9-11 -
martyrs are asking for justice. The implication is: I will avenge.

#10. The imprecatory psalm does not dismiss, override, annul the call to love neighbor and pray for enemies.
Psalm 35:12-15a I Tim. 2:3 & 4 2 Pet. 3:9

The biggest problem with these prayers is our own sinful nature.

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