Praying the Imprecatory Psalms


Should Christians pray the imprecatory psalms?


The imprecatory psalms (Pss. 5; 10; 17; 35; 58; 59; 69; 70; 79; 83; 109; 129; 137; 140) essentially call down God’s judgment upon his and our enemies.

We read in Romans 12:19, "Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay,' says the Lord." So, when we pray imprecations we are laying our concerns before the Lord to take his action(s); i.e., "Lord I’m laying before your feet our enemies and what they are doing." However, because God always displays perfect love, mercy, righteousness, and judgment in every situation, such a prayer should give us pause before his throne. We need to ensure our hearts are right before our Lord and others.

Even when we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we are praying an imprecation as we say, "Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:10; cf. Rev. 22:12). We are praying not only all God’s blessing on his people but also his eternal wrath on all his enemies. A sincere solemness should be with us when we pray such prayers. Maranatha; our Lord is coming!

So should we pray the imprecatory psalms? Yes. However, they are extraordinary psalms for exceptional times.

Related Topics

Imprecatory Psalms

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).