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-Are ‘Imprecatory Prayers’ Justified?

by Dr. D ~ June 9th, 2009

(Picture by Getty Images via Daylife)

NEW YORK (ABP) — “A former Southern Baptist Convention officer who on June 2 called the death of abortion provider George Tiller an answer to prayer said later in the day he is also praying "imprecatory prayer" against President Obama.”

Pastor Wiley Drake of First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, California, confirmed in a radio interview with Alan Colmes that he was also praying for the death of the President. Here’s part of the exchange:

"Are you praying for his death?" Colmes asked.

"Yes," Drake replied.

"So you’re praying for the death of the president of the United States?"


Colmes asked Drake if he was concerned that by saying that he might be placed on a Secret Service or FBI watch list, and if he believed it appropriate to talk or pray that way.

"I think it’s appropriate to pray the Word of God," Drake said. "I’m not saying anything. What I am doing is repeating what God is saying, and if that puts me on somebody’s list, then I’ll just have to be on their list."

"You would like for the president of the United States to die?" Colmes asked once more.

"If he does not turn to God and does not turn his life around, I am asking God to enforce imprecatory prayers that are throughout the Scripture that would cause him death, that’s correct."

"I believe the whole Bible, Alan," he explained. "I don’t just preach part of it. I don’t just preach the soft, fuzzy, warm stuff where we’re supposed to be nice to everybody. I preach the whole Bible."

"This whole concept that we’re always to pray little, nice, soft, fluffy, prayers — that we’re not to pray imprecatory prayer — has been something that just, in all honesty, that Southern Baptists have lost, and we need to regain imprecatory prayer," Drake said. "It is in the Bible, and we are proud to say as Southern Baptists that we believe the Book. You’ve got to believe the whole Book, brother, or you don’t believe any of it."

Response: According to Drake, imprecatory prayer — words of judgment in the Psalms prayed back to God – is a practice he said that the American church has neglected.

My question is this—are ‘imprecatory prayers’ for today? Is this New Testament or Old Covenant? Is this really Christian?  -or- Are Christians called to pray for their enemies like Jesus said? What do you think? Is this really justified or just wrong?

I have been praying for President Obama and other leaders even though I disagree with them. Am I wrong to do that? I don’t think so.

The only imprecatory prayers that I have ever prayed are against the ultimate enemy—the Devil and his forces. These are the only imprecatory prayers that I believe Christians are justified in praying—against evil but not against other people. 

Also, this interview was on a secular radio talk show—what kind of witness do you think this is for non-Christians?

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5 Responses to -Are ‘Imprecatory Prayers’ Justified?

  1. Wickle

    All too often, people weave back and forth between the Old and New Covenants according to what’s convenient.

    I rather suspect that while Pastor Drake will cite OT prayers, he sure enjoys his pork ribs.

    The marriage of politics and faith has been poisonous to religious practice, and this is a great example of it. I rather suspect that, although I could name all kinds of places where Pres. Obama’s predecessor had issues, he wasn’t praying for Pres. Bush’s death.

    As you said:
    “Also, this interview was on a secular radio talk show—what kind of witness do you think this is for non-Christians?”

    THAT is chilling. Jesus said to love our enemies — and He said that He was directly refuting the old concept of blessing your enemies and hating your enemies.

  2. Dr. D

    Thanks Wickle, Good comments.

    “The marriage of politics and faith has been poisonous to religious practice, and this is a great example of it.”–absolutely true!

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