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.

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