Cursing while praying

The Imprecatory Psalms

Psalm 12

What is wrong? 2010-10-12-True-for-Now

Liars on every side, no faithful men to be found, people using powerful and clever words to achieve their own ends.  Sounds like a normal day in the business world.

What is the curse?

May the LORD cut off all flattering lips and every boastful tongue. V.3


The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honoured among men.  There needs to be honesty and truth in all our dealings with each other.  If a man says he will do something, he should do it.  Bluffers and wafflers need to be shown up, not honoured.  The “cute whore” nod-nod, wink –wink, mentality that pervaded Irish life and politics and was honoured in certain political parties led to the wicked freely having their way in corruption and theft.  It doesn’t appear so much now because we all see the consequences.  It would have been better if some specific prayer similar to verse 3 was sent up to God about some of these men.  We might have been saved a lot of trouble.

Psalm 35

What is wrong?

The author is under attack.  Some are seeking to kill him or ruin him, others to repay him evil for the good he has done them.  And others are gloating over his distress.



What is the curse?


LORD, do unto them as they would do unto me.  Put them to shame and confusion.


I don’t think many of us have human enemies of the sort David did at the time he wrote this psalm.  However we all have spiritual enemies who would seek to do same things as described in this psalm.  They should be cursed in the same way, i.e. by calling upon God to judge them (cf. Jude 8-10).

Psalm 58

What is wrong?

Wicked rulers.00733518.jpg

What is the curse?

LORD, destroy their power and get rid of them.


We all know dictators that it would be good to curse in this way even now never mind Genghis Khan, Hitler, Stalin, Pol Phot and the list of other despots that there have been through the ages.  The amount of misery such men can inflict makes these curses wholly appropriate.

Psalm 59

What is wrong?

The author is under attack from a group of men who besiege him and are out to slander and kill him (probably Saul’s men according to the heading).

What is the curse?

LORD, punish them, show no mercy, but don’t just kill them, make them wander about and let them be caught first and then consume them in wrath and destroy them utterly.  I don’t know why David said not to just kill them, he could have saved himself many years of running around the mountains.


I don’t think many of us have human enemies of the sort David did at the time he wrote this psalm but it can happen.  David had a long on-going battle with Saul and his forces – perhaps we need to be careful how we curse!!!

Psalm 69

What is wrong?

The author is in despair because as he seeks the Lord people begin to hate him without reason, scorn him and alienate him – including his own family members.  When people insult God he feels it personally (v. 9).  Scorn has broken his heart and left him helpless and there is no one to comfort him, in fact they do the opposite.

What is the curse?

May the table set before them become a snare;
may it become retribution and a trap.
23 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,
and their backs be bent forever.
24 Pour out your wrath on them;
let your fierce anger overtake them.
25 May their place be deserted;
let there be no one to dwell in their tents.
26 For they persecute those you wound
and talk about the pain of those you hurt.
27 Charge them with crime upon crime;
do not let them share in your salvation.
28 May they be blotted out of the book of life
and not be listed with the righteous.


This psalm is full of prophetic statements that the NT writers use in relation to the life and death of Jesus. In John 15:25, the Lord quoted Psalm 69:4 in reference to His mistreatment by the Jews, “They hated Me without cause.”  The Apostle Paul quotes verses 22 and 23 in Romans 11:9-10.  The first part of verse 9 is fulfilled when the Lord cast the money changers out of the Temple (John 2:17).  The last part is quoted in Romans 15:3.

When I read the curses I cannot help think that they apply to those who reject Christ and oppose the church unreasonably  and for no cause.   In particular the curse that they should be blotted out of the book of life points to this.

Being thankful for what Christianity has brought to our societies

I’m doing a course in biblical interpretation at the IBI and this came up during it.  I thought I’d post it here for others to see also.  All comments are welcome.

First this from a bible school textbook:

  • “We are under the new covenant and not under the old covenant thus we are not under the law as the terms of the covenant.
  • Also we are not Israelites preparing to live in the Promised Land with God dwelling in the tabernacle or temple; we are Christians with God living within each of us.
  • We do not approach God through the sacrifice of animals; we approach God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.” (Extract from “Grasping God’s Word” by Duvall & Hays Chap. 19).

We have access to the results of generations of the Lord’s people operating in the abundance of His grace that has been given to us as a result of the death of Christ.  Their (and our) faith in Him has resulted in many blessings being released into the world.

As a result of the prayers of the saints and the gracious action of God in our societies here in the West (and elsewhere) we experience innumerable blessings:

  • good governmental systems;
  • justice systems based on a good moral basis[1];
  • freedom from slavery;
  • law enforcement;
  • business in an environment of trust[2];
  • access to hospitals, nursing, doctors;
  • education
  • a legacy of Christian inspired classical music, literature, art, etc. for nearly everyone in our societies if they want it.

Resulting from the Christian understanding of a rational God we have

  • technologies that our ancestors couldn’t even have conceived of impacting the military, medical, communications, computing, transport and other areas.
  • We enjoy a lifestyle of luxury arising from free trade and corporate business cooperation that even their kings in their wildest imaginations had no idea could be had;
  • We enjoy the exotic produce of the land and sea from all over the world delivered to our door if we want it[3]

our material comforts are in another league to theirs.

Our understanding of the world and its astonishing variety and our exposure to knowledge about it and the universe through personal travel, education and TV, means that – if we had eyes to see it – we have been exposed to many of the miracles of God.

Here in the west we know little or nothing about persecution to the point of death.

That is not to say that every advance in Western society is directly attributable to Christians but I believe they are directly attributable to a Christian worldview – or on a more fundamental level – to God.  He is working through the revelation of His truth in the Scriptures to provide the basis for everyone’s thinking in Christian societies.  You only have to learn about the development of a society where some other basis is at work (e.g. animism, Buddhism, Islam or Hinduism) to see the difference. Not that many of those have been left untouched by the Christian worldview since the 19th century.

[1] At least originally – nowadays they are inclined to move to precedence but there is still an underlying Christian basis to the constitutions of the world’s major democracies which in turn determines the principles of justice used (e.g. innocent until proven guilty).

[2] That mightn’t seem to be the case but you only have to experience the difference between operating in a society where there is much less or no trust to see how important this is and how much we take it for granted.  Transparency International clearly show the relationship between trust (i.e. lack of corruption) in society and its prosperity.

[3] Tesco deliver to your door for just €5 more in nearly every part of Ireland.