Can we pray imprecatory prayers like in the imprecatory psalms ?
Psalms 58 NLT
1 Justice—do you rulers know the meaning of the word?
Do you judge the people fairly?
2 No! You plot injustice in your hearts.
You spread violence throughout the land.
3 These wicked people are born sinners;
even from birth they have lied and gone their own way.
4 They spit venom like deadly snakes;
they are like cobras that refuse to listen,
5 ignoring the tunes of the snake charmers,
no matter how skillfully they play.
6 Break off their fangs, O God!
Smash the jaws of these lions, O Lord!
7 May they disappear like water into thirsty ground.
Make their weapons useless in their hands.[c]
8 May they be like snails that dissolve into slime,
like a stillborn child who will never see the sun.
9 God will sweep them away, both young and old,
faster than a pot heats over burning thorns.
10 The godly will rejoice when they see injustice avenged.
They will wash their feet in the blood of the wicked.
11 Then at last everyone will say,
“There truly is a reward for those who live for God;
surely there is a God who judges justly here on earth.”
King David prayed the most such psalms and there was apparently no rebuke from the Lord. I believe the Lord will prefer us to be honest with our feelings before Him than to feel bitter and harbour wrong thoughts. King David prayed against God’s enemies and it is surely right to hate sin and oppression. In Revelation, we do notice that the martyred saints plead for God’s quick vengeance. Each time, we pray for our Lord to return quickly, we are actually praying for Him to come quickly to judge and establish retributive justice.
On the other hand, our Lord Jesus exhorted us to love and pray for our enemies. Scripture has exhorted us not to gloat over the misfortune of anyone and that will include enemies. We are exhorted to pray and submit to the governing authorities too. And we must not take revenge into our own hands against anyone for vengeance belongs to the Lord. Will we then be violating the law of Christ by praying imprecation against God’s enemies ?
Since Scripture is inerrant and infallible, we must believe all exhortation to be true. If so, there is an instance for loving and praying for our enemies and also another to pray for God’s intervention by praying imprecation, just like we are exhorted not to judge as in fault finding (Matt 7:1) but we are also exhorted to judge serious sins in the church. (1 Cor 5:9-13). The Lord hates oppression of the people, especially His people. Even the manifesto of our Lord Jesus in Luke 4:18 includes relieving the oppressed. I believe we can pray for the repentance of the oppressive rulers first and if there is no repentance, we can pray for the Lord’s intervention to remove the oppression. But we need to examine our motives first. Are we praying due to personal grudge or are we distressed by the gross injustice and oppression of the people ?
King David prayed for the counsel of a certain person for his son Absalom, who had rebelled against him, to be turned into foolishness. (2 Sam 15:31) For a start, we can surely pray for the wicked plans, platform, credibility of evil and oppressive governing authorities to fail, or even to lose the approval and trust of the people, and eventually their removal from power rather than their demise through the Lord’s intervention.