Are Imprecatory Prayers Appropriate for the Church?

Sep 14, 2008 By: Pastor Joseph LoSardo Series: Psalms Scripture: Psalm 5
The Lord’s disciples asked Him to teach them to pray. We can learn much from our Lord about prayer through the prayers of David. In Psalm 5 we find that David is not limited to one form of prayer. He approaches the throne of grace with words, silent meditations, and cries. He offers prayers on behalf of himself as a representative of the godly and imprecations on behalf of the enemies of God. What role, if any, should imprecatory prayers (the calling upon God for a just demonstration of wrath against sinners) play in the life of the New Testament church? Some scholars and worshippers of the modern church love-god deny or reject the idea that any imprecation is appropriate in light of Jesus’ command to love one another. Is this so? Does the new commandment and law of Christ to love, necessarily exclude imprecatory prayers? Are imprecations products of an old Jewish dispensation no longer to be practiced by those enlightened by Christ? Are imprecations always the product of human anger and an ‘eye for an eye’ mentality? If not, then why do so few churches today include imprecatory prayers in their worship? With about 20 imprecatory prayers in the Psalms alone – and the Psalter being the prayer book of the church – how is it that we can ignore or overlook this kind of prayer in our prayer meetings and public worship? Have we become so affected by the love idol put forth by today’s church, that we consider appropriate imprecation as incompatible with the command to love our enemies and pray for those who despitefully use us? This sermon will address all of these questions as it examines the role of imprecation in the life of the New Testament saint and church.