Monday, September 03, 2007

Imprecatory Prayers?

Recently, Rev. Drake urged his congregation to pray for God's vengeance against others (including the leaders of Americans United for Separation of Church and State) using Psalm 109 as a model for imprecatory prayer.

I don't know this man, and am sure he is sincere. (Though sincerity is not a test of truth or wisdom.) I would hardly be surprised to find that the media stories are not wholly correct, or there is a context problem.

If I get the opportunity to meet him, I would like to ask him about these verses in Luke 6:

27"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."

Is it right to pray against our enemies?

Let me suggest one approach: pray for what glorifies God most, as He determines.

Our Lord does not need my advice on how to answer that prayer. I can imagine all kinds of ways in the here and now that God should act. But being a created being, finite, with limited perspective, it's unlikely that I'm going to come up with better ideas than the sovereign Lord of the universe.

Yes, I do pray specifically. Yes, I do ask for protection, for divine intervention against evil. Yes, I am learning as a child of God that my Father answers prayer in the best ways.

1 comment:

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