Should Christians Pray Imprecatory Prayers?

by David J. Stewart | June 2015

2nd Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

       What in the world is “IMPRECATORY” prayer? The word imprecate means “to wish harm upon or put a curse on.” Although the word imprecatory is not found in the Holy Scriptures, numerous imprecatory prayers are found in the Psalms. Listen to what King David prayed toward his enemies in Psalms 58:6, “Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth: break out the great teeth of the young lions, O LORD.” King David had many enemies, as does every Christian who stands for the Lord Jesus Christ. On top of that, when David's enemies learned about his crimes of adultery, impregnating Bath-Sheba and murdering her husband Uriah to cover-up what he had done, they had a field day. The wicked were a continual thorn in David's life.

Read what David prayed toward the wicked in Psalms 69:24-28, “Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them. Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents. For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded. Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.” At a quick glance it may appear that David is selfishly praying for God to avenge him of his enemies and let them burn in Hell. Revelation 20:15, “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Everyone is born with their name written in the Lamb's Book of Life. When you consciously reject Christ, or intentionally corrupt the Word of God which is the same as rejecting Christ (Revelation 22:19), your name is blotted out of God's Book. No believer can ever lose salvation. Therefore, if a man's name can be blotted out of the Book of Life, it can only mean that everyone's name is there from birth until it is removed. This would explain why all children go to Heaven.

To understand David's anger against the wicked and his use of imprecatory prayer against the wicked, we must understand that David (the pen of a ready writer, Psalms 45:1) is writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus Christ quoted from the imprecatory Psalms during His earthly ministry. John 15:25, “But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.” Also, the apostle Paul quoted from the imprecatory Psalms in Romans 11:9-10, “And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.”

These New Testament quotes from the imprecatory Psalms in the Old Testament, evidence that David was not speaking selfishly from a vindictive heart of hatred toward sinners. David was simply expressing his desire to see God's justice executed upon the unrepentant wicked. This does not mean that David was happy to see them burn in Hell; but rather, David wanted true justice to be done. I know because that is how I feel as a born-again Christian. I don't want to see unsaved wicked people burn in Hell, but I long for the day when God puts an end to all this wickedness in the world and cleans house, so-to-speak!

I long for the day when former U.S. President George W. Bush and his crime-ridden family are brought to God's justice. Although I don't want anyone to be cast into everlasting fire, I do want to see the wicked get what they have coming to them, for all the innocent people they've hurt (including 1,455,590 murdered Iraqis and 2,745 murdered 911 victims, to name just a few). But in my haste to see the Bush family judged, I am quick to realize that I too am a woeful sinner deserving of the eternal fires of Hell. Thank God for the blood of Jesus that washes men's sins away. I do pray and hope that the Bush family will repent and come to Jesus Christ before it's too late. They have religion, but they are not saved. George W. Bush is as phony a Christian as a $3 bill, who has publicly said that unsaved Muslims worship the same God as Christians. What a big lie of Satan!!! The Koran says that God has no son; but the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, making Him also God!

Some preachers are saying that they want Bruce Jenner (now Caitlyn Jenner) to immediately die and burn in Hell. I would never say that about any human being, not even Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. Hell is a horrible literal place, which was not created for mankind, but for Satan and the demons (Matthew 25:41). We all deserve to burn in Hell for our sins. I choose to see people as broken instead of bad. Bruce Jenner is a broken man and needs spiritual help, but due to his wealth he'll probably never seek it. The hellhole Satanic church that he attends in California sure isn't helping him get saved and grow in the Lord. I have not heard any public testimony from Mr. Jenner concerning how he got saved, so I have personal doubts that he is at all.

All I've been hearing on religious radio lately is about the importance of “having a relationship with Jesus.” That's not the Gospel (1st Corinthians 15:1-4), which means that there can be no “power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). The Gospel is that power of God unto salvation, to them that believe, which most churches today deny (2nd Timothy 3:5). Instead, people are taught to have a relationship which does not require the new birth by the Holy Spirit of God (so there is no demand to live holy as a true believer). Judas had a relationship with Jesus, but went straight to Hell forever to burn in his sins. Jesus said in John 6:70 that Judas had a devil in him. Forget starting a relationship with Jesus! That is the Devil talking on the radio! You had better obey the Lord's commandment in John 3:3... YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN!!!
 

God is Not Pleased With the Death of the Wicked

The Holy Bible teaches that God is not pleased when someone dies and goes to Hell. Ezekiel 33:11, “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” God is love and He desires for all men and women to repent unto believing the Gospel, as our text verse teaches, to be saved. God loves to pardon repentant sinners! THAT IS A GOOD, GREAT AND AWESOME GOD!!!

We ought never pray for God to send anyone to Hell. One of my favorite Scriptures is found in Micah 7:18, “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.” The God of the Bible loves to forgive and pardon iniquity. I love that about God! But that forgiveness is only obtainable through THE CROSS at Calvary (the hill upon which Jesus was crucified). This area was just outside of Jerusalem. Just as the scapegoat was led outside the gate and slain in the Old Testament under ceremonial law, so also was the Lord Jesus led outside the gate of the city of Jerusalem and crucified. If you acknowledge that you are a guilty sinner in God's eyes, and believe that Christ died on the cross for your sins and raised up from the dead three days later, you are saved.

It is a false teaching to say that Christians ought to hate sinners and wish them to burn in Hell. When the Apostles offered to pray down fire and brimstone from Heaven upon the Christ-rejecting Samaritans, Jesus rebuked them, reminding them that He came to save and not destroy people's lives. ...

Luke 9:51-56, “And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.”

The Holy Bible teaches plainly that God is not willing for anyone to perish into Hell in their sins. We read in Matthew that Hell was made for the Devil, not mankind. Matthew 25:41, “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” God never intended for one human being to burn in the fires of Hell. David in his imprecatory prayers was simply proclaiming the coming righteous judgments of God against the unrepentant wicked. David expresses His desire to see the ruthless, malicious and brutal amongst men get what they have coming to them. This is how we should all feel at times as Christians, who've been declared justified by the righteousness of God through faith in Christ Jesus; hence, we loath sin and those who promote it, but we still love their soul and want them to repent and come to Christ for salvation. There is a balance between the Christian's unconditional love for every sinner, and our intense hatred for all sin. To love sin is wicked, and to hate sinners equally so. Without love and holiness in us as believers, the world will not see God.

Unfortunately, when Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden and opened the floodgate of sin upon the world, death came upon all men (Romans 5:12), and there was no place else for unrepentant men to go, except to spend eternity in the fires of Hell beneath. Isaiah 5:14, “Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.” If you die in your sins one day and go to Hell for all eternity, you will have no one to blame except yourself, because God in His unconditional love has made a way of escape through faith in Christ Jesus. 2nd Timothy 2:13, “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.”
 

It is God's Job to Avenge All Evil Works

The Lord doesn't want anyone to go to Hell, but His holiness demands justice, and those who die in their sins without Christ will go to Hell. We don't need to pray for God to make the sun rise tomorrow, or for the Big Dipper star constellation to be visible in the night sky (I saw it last night). The Lord makes these things happen. God promises to eternally save them that believe the Gospel (1st Corinthians 1:21), and to eternally punish those who don't (2nd Thessalonians 1:8-9). We don't need to pray for what God has already promised. In Romans 12:19, 1st Thessalonians 4:6, Ecclesiastes 12:14, Matthew 12:36 and many other Scriptures, God promises to avenge all wrongs. Paul comforted the afflicted church at Thessalonica in 2nd Thessalonians 1:6, “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you.” Vengeance belongs to God, to whom all things are naked and open, with whom we all have to do (Hebrews 4:13).

Now I think it is acceptable to hold God to His promises, all of them. Since the Lord promises to avenge us of our enemies and those who've hurt us, we have a Biblical right to remind God of His promise to avenge, even if to only make our self feel better. Romans 12:19, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Letting matters go into God's hands for judgment is a matter of faith. The Lord will keep His word, as His integrity is at stake. If the Lord doesn't avenge us of all wrongs, even little seemingly insignificant hurtful words by others that wound our feelings, then He would be a liar. God will keep His promise to hold all men accountable, even for their words (Matthew 12:36). In fact, God will hold men accountable for their thoughts (Proverbs 24:12).
 

Judge Not That Ye Be Not Judged

Jesus said in Matthew 7:1-2 that God will judge men by their own measure by which they have judged others. If you are a critic who finds umpteen reasons to destroy other people's name and life, God will judge you by that same scrutiny, intensity and unreasonableness. No one ever gets away with hurting others, even though they've been self-deceived to think they have the right to do so. You're never more like Satan than when you try to destroy others (Revelation 12:10). You are just as much a sinner as the person(s) you are trying to destroy. Don't judge others because they sin differently than you do!

The only difference is that some people's sins are exposed beforehand here on earth and everyone else's sins will be exposed in eternity. Everyone sins, and all sin is black, ugly and brings God's wrath. 1st Timothy 5:24, “Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.” We live in a throwaway society in America. A man can do 50,000 good things, and yet people will write him off as a villain if he messes up just once. Thankfully, God is the opposite, that is, He sees the 50,000 good things that a believer does, and also the bad things, and He weighs them in the balance. This is justice! There is no justice in America these days. All the newsmedia are concerned with is evil, crime and shameful things, destroying lives and runing people's names. Nobody helps afflicted people anymore. All the court system cares about is what a person did wrong. All American society looks at is a person's mistakes, sins and crimes. This is our heathen U.S. culture of degradation, hate and hypocrisy.

If you want to please God as a Christian, then you must learn to forgive others, let matters go into God's hands for judgment, and love everyone. Let us hate evil, but never people.
 

A Wicked Society Gone Mad

Wouldn't it be great if in our society, we all rushed to help the hurting, restore the fallen, rescue the perishing and mend the broken? Instead, when a couple is having marriage problems, every greedy lawyer and crooked judge does everything in their legal power to ensure that a divorce happens, so they can make lots of money. We live in a predatory society in America. Business all use shady advertising that lure in new customers with bold colors, captivating music, big smiles and empty promises; but then in their disclaimer's fine print, they negate all of those promises with restrictions, conditions, penalties and outright fraud. “Everybody's doing it” we hare told. Proverb 16:5, “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.”

Look at a standard realtor's contract and you'll see my point. If anything goes wrong with either the buyer or seller, the realtor can sue for his or her commissions, regardless of one's hardships or whatever. No matter who loses, the realtor wins. It is disgusting! Realtor's in America are as crooked as a dog's hind leg, as are nearly all lawyers and judges. And even if some try to be honest, the system itself is horribly rigged, a crooked and lousy system at best. America locks up more citizens than any nation on earth, most for minor non-violent offenses (like not cutting your grass, releasing helium balloons, growing tomatoes in your front yard and owing someone $70). Yet they say the system is not perfect, but it's one of the best. Hardy Har Har, Ha, Ha, Ha! The average U.S. judge in any court capacity is a filthy piece of trash! That's why Americans have finally had enough and are now starting to murder those judges and their families!!! When people lose everything, they have nothing to lose!

Notice in our text verse from 2nd Peter 3:9 that God's not willing for anyone to perish, but to come to repentance. David wanted evildoers to be held accountable for their wickedness against the innocent. God has no pleasure over anyone's death and suffering in Hell, but His holiness demands it!!! We read about God's love over 100 times in the Bible, but over 700 times we read about God's holiness. God is a holy (morally perfect) God. The Lord hates all sin. Gossip, backbiting, envy, talebearers, hypocrisy, condemning others, prayerlessness and arrogant pride are some of the worst sins. Unfortunately, the average person today couldn't care less about such awful sins, but they will be sorry when they stand before God.

David was expressing His desire to see the wicked get what they had coming to them for hurting others. Although this seems contrary to the Lord's teachings to love our enemies, it's just a different perspective of the truth. In the Old Testament we see God's great wrath against the wicked, when He destroyed the entire world by a massive deadly flood in Genesis chapter 6. Yet, we read in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Yes, God does hate sin, but He loves the sinner. God is not fond of sinners, but He unconditionally loves them enough that He sent His only begotten Son to pay for everyone's sins on the cross.

I desire for God to judge America. I pray for God to rain down His wrath upon our nation, because that's the only way that people will ever repent. Yet, I love everyone and do not desire for anyone to burn in Hell. Hugh Hefner is a wicked man, whose Playboy philosophy has caused millions of broken marriages, hurt homes and destroyed lives. Hefner has a net worth of $43,000,000!!! It's blood money! It's all filthy lucre, ill-gotten wealth by ruining men's lives. I hate evil and look forward to seeing God burn the world up one day and all the smutty evil works in it (2nd Peter 3:10). Yet, I do not want to see Mr. Hefner burn in the Lake of Fire.

I deserve to burn in Hell as much as Hugh Hefner, and so do you (James 2:10). We are all horrible big sinners. If you don't see yourself as a big sinner, then you haven't been walking with our holy God. Peter saw Jesus' holiness. Luke 5:8, “When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” I am the biggest sinner I know. I'm so grateful to God that He loves sinners. God doesn't approve of sin, nor does He accept unrepented sinners, but He does love everyone, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2nd Peter 3:9). We are living in a horrible evil time of deceitful people deceiving others, and being deceived themselves. 2nd Timothy 3:13, “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” Truly, America's days are numbered.
 

God Commands Christians to Forgive, Love and Bless Enemies

The Lord commands us in Matthew 18:22 to forgive each other, not 7 times a day, but 7 times 70 (490 times). That doesn't mean we have to trust, like, or even associate with any particular person, but we ought not harbor hatred and bitterness toward them. How do you do this? I learned years ago that forgiveness means letting a matter go into God's hands for judgment. Leave it in God's hands.

Joseph said in Genesis 50:19-20, “And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” Joseph's ten half-brothers had horribly betrayed him, throwing him into a pit as a young man that led to his being sold into slavery. Joseph ended up in prison, falsely accused by Potiphar's adulterous wife. Ah, but God remembered Joseph. Over 20 years Joseph was raised-up by God to become governor over all of Egypt. Wow! What a beautiful story of going from rags to riches!!!

Then God sent a famine to the land, which compelled Joseph's half-brothers to travel to Egypt to buy food. Long story short, Joseph and his brothers were reunited. If you've never read the story of Joseph, you are in for a treat. I recommend getting the King James Bible on three MP3 disks or a single DVD, read by Alexander Scourby. It is wonderful. Get a cold iced-tea, sit in your favorite chair, and listen to the book of Genesis. You can hear the whole Bible read in 75 hours.

Joseph's ten half-brothers were all worried that Joseph would take vengeance and kill them when their father Jacob passed away. They had totally ruined his life and robbed Joseph of his father for 20 years. Yet, when Joseph learned of their fears, he comforted his brethren in Genesis 50:19-20, saying that he is not God, and it wasn't his place to judge them. Joseph was second in power only to Pharaoh himself in Egypt. Yet, Joseph honored God and trusted the Lord to make all things right in eternity. If you hurt me, it's not my place to judge you. God alone reserves that right (Hebrews 4:13; James 4:12; Romans 14:10-12). Joseph realized and told his brothers that what they'd meant for evil, God meant for God. What a beautiful truth! God can take the lemons in our life and make lemonade! Amen! God uses things that are despised, broken, weak and frail, so that he gets all the glory and not men.

Forgiveness is a choice! I choose to always forgive, just as God always forgives me. This is Biblical (Ephesians 4:30-32). Ecclesiastes 12:14 promises that God will judge every work, whether it be good or evil. We are commanded in Romans 12:19 not to avenge ourselves, but leave it in God's hands, and He promises to avenge (recompense) every evil done against us. It is a matter of faith. Many believers become vindictive because they don't really believe that God will avenge them. Jesus warned in Matthew 12:36 that men will be held accountable by God for even their idle words spoken. Proverbs 24:12 says that God will even judge our thoughts. Proverb 24:12, “If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?” Amen.

God is not willing for anyone to perish into Hell. It can sometimes get confusing for new believers to discern their own feelings between hatred against sin verses love for the sinner. We ought never desire or rejoice to see anyone go to Hell. The Lord does not have any pleasure in the death of the wicked, because they will spend eternity in Hell by their own choice. God gave His only begotten Son for them, but they rejected the free gift of eternal life. Salvation is free for the taking! Why would anyone choose to go to Hell? Many people are blinded by the Devil (2nd Corinthians 4:3-4). Others love their sin and don't want anything to do with a holy Savior and the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 3:20; 1st John 3:24). Some people are cowards, afraid to come to Christ lest someone ridicule them. The very first group of people listed in the lake of fire and brimstone is “the fearful” (Revelation 21:8).
 

Having the Heart of God Toward Others

2nd Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

I'll say this and I'll close. This is a deep spiritual truth, but it is beautiful. When I am reminded of those who have deeply hurt me in life, I ask the Lord to use their offense to help them spiritually. I pray and tell the Lord that if my calamity, loss, suffering and pain caused by that person can be used in the long-run for their own spiritual benefit, then so be it. I am willing to be the scapegoat, as was Jesus for the sins of the world. Sometimes the hero has to become the villain for the benefit of others. Jesus became as sin on the cross, which is why Moses held up a serpent in the wilderness—it pictured Christ Who became as sin for us (Numbers 21:6-9; John 3:15; 2nd Corinthians 5:21). Jesus became as sin, so that we who knew no righteousness, could be made the righteousness of God through faith in Christ (Philippians 3:9). What an awesome Savior!!!

If God is not willing for any to perish, then neither should we as His children. No Christian ought ever desire to see anyone burn in the fires of Hell. What a tragic thing for someone to go to Hell forever! When king David spoke of wanted the wicked to rot in Hell in Psalm 69:28, he was speaking from a righteous heart against unrepentant evildoers who hurt others. God Himself, Who sent His only begotten Son into the world to die for our sins, is a holy God and must punish Christ-rejecting sinners in Hell forever. If a person rejects God's only provision for them in Christ to escape His wrath, then they have no where else to go when they die except the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:13-15). So we see that the same God Who loves the world and sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins, also takes out His vengeance upon those who reject Christ and die in their sins.

The Lord Jesus Christ said in Matthew 5:44, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” We are not commanded in the Holy Bible to pray for God to curse others, nor should we wish for anybody to burn in the fires of Hell. Instead, the Lord tells us to pray for our enemies and love them. What should we pray? We ought to pray for their salvation. We ought to pray for God's will to be done in their life, whether good or bad is God's decision. If someone is living in unrepentant sin, I pray for God to roughen up their life with adversity (Psalms 119:67-71). For every man who has been destroyed by adversity, ten men have been destroyed by prosperity. America is in the mess we're in today because of abundant prosperity.

I agree with Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001) that we need another Great Depression in America. Folks who went through The Great Depression had a whole different attitude toward life than this spoiled brat generation today. Young people live on credit today, enjoying things before paying for them. During The Great Depression of the 1930's, they lived by the motto... Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without!!! Amen. We need some of that again today. Americans are so spoiled rotten, characterless and spineless these days that we are as dumb sheep before the slaughter. There's nothing wrong in America today that couldn't be remedied by a generation of Spirit-filled preaching preachers!

It is my prayer for the Bruce Jenners, Hugh Hefners and Barack Obamas of this world to come to repentance and be saved, which is what God desires (2nd Peter 3:9). I don't believe anyone is beyond hope!!! If God can save a murderer of Christians like Saul, who became the mighty missionary Apostle Paul, then there is hope for anybody. Moses was a murderer. David was an adulterer and murderer. Solomon was a sex pervert. Samson was a whoremonger. Noah had an alcohol problem. Peter walked around naked in public. Demas loved the world. Jeremiah was a quitter. Jacob was a conniving liar and con man. Sarah laughed at the promises of God. Ezekiel had an unclean mouth. Jonah ran from God. Lot was a carnal man who loved Las Vegas. If God could save these losers, problematic people, quitters and criminals, then there is hope for anybody. God is not looking for winners, but for losers who realize that they're sinful losers, and thus, see their need for the crucified and risen Savior, Jesus Christ.

I want to be like my dear Savior, and one way I can do that is to be willing to be made the bad guy and to be hurt by others, so that one day they might find God or get right with God. In other words, I trust God that He can take any bad situation in my life, no matter what, even the bad things people do to me, and use it for His glory. God can take the broken pieces of my life and still build something meaningful. God has been so faithful. God gave everything so that we could have eternal life and happiness in Heaven. This ungrateful world that continually criticizes, demonizes and blasphemes a holy God, will have no excuse on Judgment Day when they stand before Him. 2nd Timothy 2:13, “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” END

“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised)” —Hebrews 10:23


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(a quote by Dr. Jack Hyles classic MP3 sermon, “The Happiest Man” (happiest is the man who will not impute sin to others!)

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