Are ‘imprecatory prayers’ justified? Should Christians pray against their enemies?
The following story has been bothering me ever since I read it. It was posted by the LA Times Online sometime in August, unfortunately the link no longer works.
The Rev. Wiley Drake, Pastor of the First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park, California, asked his congregation (August) to pray an ‘imprecatory prayer’ against the leaders of an opposing organization. He listed Psalm 109 as a reference.
The Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a Washington-based group had asked the IRS to investigate the tax-exempt status of Drake’s congregation because the Pastor had sent out a letter supporting Gov. Mike Huckabee for President on a church letterhead.
All heck broke loose when the Pastor asked for ‘imprecatory prayers’ against the AUSCS and it somehow became public knowledge. Even those who profess to have little or no faith in God were offended and became upset with Rev. Drake, which is surprising to me. It has became the subject of numerous news articles including an article in the LA Times which sought out responses from several religious leaders and scholars, who came across with mixed opinions.
Comments: One of the more interesting things that you run into when you are going through the Psalms in the Bible are the prayers of David asking God for justice and to take action against his enemies. I have always appreciated the candor of David and his ability to talk truthfully about his feelings with God. I have always thought that it is a good example for all of us.
However some of things that David prays for should also be shocking to Christians especially in light of the teaching of Christ to pray for our enemies:
“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” (Matt. 5:44)
I have no problem praying against the real enemy, Satan and all of his minions and plans. However, I hope and pray for everyone to find Jesus, even those I disagree with and those who consider me their foe for some reason.
Here’s a personal story: On one occasion I was bothered by one of my business rivals who had obviously stepped over the line and personally cost me over $2,000. I was driving down the road praying and calling upon the Lord for justice and as I remember, I felt justified to pray against the person and cried out that judgment should be upon him since he had ‘moved the stakes’ and violated his contractual obligations.
Immediately the Spirit spoke to me and told me to retract it or I would be under the same curse and judgment since the company that I represented had years before broken their word with this man. Immediately a huge truck pulled into my lane and I miraculously avoided a major accident. Then the Holy Spirit asked me to pray for blessings to heaped upon him. That was one of the hardest things I have ever done. However, I have personally prospered ever since.
I guess what bothers me about this story, the Christians here (the Pastor and his congregation) come across as unforgiving and seeking retribution rather than bearing a positive testimony of Christ and hoping, praying, and expecting for the best. For me, to pray against a bunch of people in an organization is tantamount to performing a curse and way to close to witchcraft. Am I wrong? *Top