R.C. Sproul | – How should Christians respond to the imprecatory psalms?

How should Christians respond to psalms that invoke calamity or curses upon one’s enemies? From Ligonier’s 2016 National Conference, W. Robert Godfrey, Albert Mohler, and William VanDoodewaard consider biblical prayers of judgment. To get real-time answers to your biblical and theological questions, just ask Ligonier. Visit [support us]


About The Author

Ligonier Ministries Ligonier Ministries is an international Christian discipleship organization founded by theologian Dr. R.C. Sproul in 1971 to equip Christians to articulate what they believe, why they believe it, how to live it, and how to share it. Proclaiming God’s holiness is central to Ligonier’s purpose. Ligonier produces Renewing Your Mind radio broadcasts, the Reformation Study Bible, Tabletalk magazine, books through the Reformation Trust Publishing division, and various teaching series. It also offers academic degrees through Reformation Bible College. In addition, Ligonier hosts national and regional conferences, offers an online learning community through Ligonier Connect, streams twenty-four-hour Christian internet radio through RefNet, and makes available thousands of unique discipleship resources online at Ligonier.org. Ligonier Ministries

Comment (14)

  1. Psalm 139: 21-22 " Do I not hate them, O Lord, who hate You? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? 22. I hate them with  perfect hatred. I count them my enemies."
    This was written by King David, the Apple of GOD's Eye.
    Definitely a strong statement! David was not a wimp either. Jesus said to "Love your enemies". Does the Bible contradict itself? No. So how do we rectify these scriptures? One way is to not take them out of context. Taking scriptures out of context has created "another Jesus", a fluffy, wimpy, hypocritical Jesus, not the One scripture says He is.

  2. Yes, however, not ALL Enemies~!!!
    1) Satan.
    2) And ALL those working for Satan, also known as Luciferians.
    3) Child Molestiors.
    4) Child Murderers, such as those who promote and practice Abortion, and now, AFTER birth itself!

    And others who seek to destroy good, attempting to overcome innocents with
    death and enslavement.

    God reveals much about loving enemies however, God details much for which we
    are NOT to love, who are also enemies. When you find more than one expressed poston, the results are to be discerned. Discernment is not as common as we might prefer.

    "Hate what God Hates and Love that which God Loves," sorts it al out.

    I am NOT Ashamed of Imprecatory Prayers. No Christian believer should. They are valid available tools in our Arsenal in Conquering Enemies.

  3. Thank you gentlemen for your courage, and for being unashamed to stand upon the word of God and the entire word of God not a pick and choose Bible of our own making. It is a pleasure to finally hear somebody answer this question correctly. I have been judged for answering the question the way that you gentlemen did, And that's okay. I do add in my answer that we should not make the assumption that only the prayers that pass our lips qualify as prayers. God hears and knows the heart. And there has never been a heart in my congregation and I dare say in any congregation that has not had imprecatory thoughts raised heavenward. We have all prayed imprecatory prayers. If we regenerate hopefully we understand that God is sovereign that he shall do whatsoever he wishes with our prayers. And hopefully our hearts will say at the end of every prayer not my will be done but thy will be done great father. Lastly I would say that I have found in the praying of imprecatory prayers myself, that it is often while praying is prayers that God will begin doing heart surgery on me, and this has resulted many times in blessed reconciliations or helpful conversations. God bless you men for your stand for God!

  4. Uh, chant and pray them? Why do Ministers get all Mealy Mouthed trying to mitigate something they fear that the Holy Spirit doesn't?: a people on fire. The Scottish Warriors just had their people Sing!! Don't try to reduce what you perceive as a paradox that needs flattening. He's the Lion of Judah. Wake up.

  5. Forgive us our sin as we forgive those who sin against us. Bless and not curse. Pray for those who persecute you. Jesus is the image and physical representation of God. He is God. He represents all that the God head believes and thinks. It amazes he how people place other scriptures above what Jesus directly says. Where there seems to be a difference of opinion choose what Jesus said. And then rethink what you may have been taught about what the other writer said. Why does David’s prayer have HAVE to be prescriptive? Learning from someone’s pray does not necessarily mean we learn to pray like them. The psalm is song and poetry you can’t read them as plain doctrine.

  6. It's our plea…to God…for the "wicked". I believe these Psalms are for Satan and his army. Like how Jesus said "Get behind me Satan" He didn't say get behind me Peter… Also we don't wrestle with flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of [a]the darkness of this age, against spiritual  of wickedness in the heavenly places.