In the news recently we heard about a SBC pastor who was actually using the "imprecatory" Psalms to pray for the demise of President Obama and many others whom he specified by name. Quoting from Americans United, "The Rev. Wiley Drake is on the warpath again — and this time, he has really gone too far...... Before appearing on Alan Colmes’ radio show June 2, Drake had issued a statement that his imprecatory prayers for the death of slain Kansan Dr. George Tiller had been answered. He said that he "absolutely" believed that God wanted Dr. Tiller dead." To AU’s (no friend of Christ) credit they did make this statement: "But it’s important to note that while Drake’s statements are scary and outrageous, not all Southern Baptists agree with him." Not all?... I would venture a guess that 99.9% do not agree with Drake.
Here are some examples of imprecatory prayer in the Psalms:
Let death take my enemies by surprise; let them go down alive to the grave. (Ps 55:15)
O God, break the teeth in their mouths. (Ps58:6)
May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous. (Ps 69:28)
May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow. (Ps 109:9)
The question of the day: How are Christians to pray the imprecatory prayers of the Psalms? And even...should we pray the imprecatory Psalms? Like the disciples of the first century we ask, “Lord teach us to pray”. We do have some direct instruction from our Lord regarding our enemies and the enemies of God. He says, “Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” (Luke 6:28) And..Paul.. “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” (I Tim 2:1-2) Based on these two verses alone, as Christians, we are permitted to pray for our enemies, to bless them, and to seek their conversion. This would certainly eliminate any personal prayer for particular or specific vengeance. So how do we pray for the defeat of our enemies?
Our Lord gives us the answer in what we call the Lord’s Prayer. It says..”Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven”. If we are truly praying for the Kingdom of God to come, and His will to be done, this entails the sure destruction of all those that would come against God and His Kingdom, including Satan and any of his followers. However, we have no clue about who may be personally and permanently committed to the Kingdom of Darkness. Therefore, we can only pray for their conversion and let God work out any vengeance. Had he been there, Rev Drake may have prayed for the demise of St Paul at one point in his life. “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Rom 12:19b) Rev Wiley Drake is wrong...as 99.9% of Southern Baptists know!