Among the more difficult portions of Scripture for many people to appreciate are the “imprecatory” psalms, i.e. those psalms in which the writer calls down the wrath of God upon the heads of men opposed to the plan and work of God. For example, referring to the wicked of his day, David prayed in Psalm 58, “Break their teeth in their mouth, O God! Break out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord! Let them flow away as waters which run continually; when he bends his bow, let his arrows be as if cut in pieces. Let them be like a snail which melts away as it goes, like a stillborn child of a woman, that they may not see the sun” (vv. 6-8).
Can we pray this way today? Should we? I believe the answer in both cases is a definite yes. Perhaps one of the reasons for the great spiritual decline in our nation has been our reticence to take seriously the spiritual war in which we are engaged, and to pray for the defeat of the enemy.
Sometimes Christians are just too “nice.” We hesitate to pray for judgement upon those who openly flaunt their defiance of the Law of God. The reality is, as Martin Luther once observed, we cannot truly pray the Lord’s Prayer without cursing. That is, when we pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, we are, by implication, praying that whatever is standing in the way of God’s will would be hindered or removed.
It has been a growing conviction of mine that we must take more seriously the need to pray specifically and directly for the destruction of the evil forces bend on destroying the Christian foundation upon which our nation was founded.
Ultimately, Paul tells us in Ephesians 6, our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against unseen powers in spiritual realms. But those unseen powers use men and women of flesh and blood that we can and must oppose with all of our resources.
Presently, the U.S. Department of Justice is engaged in a well-orchestrated attack upon the institution of God-defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The DOJ takes orders from the President. In one dimension of that attack, the effort to overturn California’s Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that amended California’s Constitution to protect traditional marriage, the DOJ argues essentially that children have no right to both mothers and fathers. They can be just as effectively (some say more effectively) raised by two women or two men as by a biblical union of a man and a woman—so the argument goes. This view is pure, unmitigated evil.
There is no more critical foundation upon which a nation exists than that of faithful households operating according to the precepts of God’s Law. When men and institutions call evil good and good evil, we must resist by praying in the spirit of the imprecatory psalms.
Yes, we should also engage in other efforts including seeking to influence our representatives in government and replacing corrupt politicians with men devoted to honoring the name of God. But our greatest resource must be praying as instructed in Scripture. The enemies of God and His people are just as active today as in David’s day. We must take them just as seriously as did he and respond accordingly.
There is no Scriptural basis for taking personal vengeance upon wicked men. That is a right reserved for God alone (Romans 12:19). It is certainly appropriate to pray for God to save the souls of His enemies and thereby change their perspective. But, if we are concerned that truth and justice prevail, we must also resist in biblically sanctioned ways, including praying for the destruction of those efforts meant to thwart the work of God.