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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Imprecatory Prayer

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Joined: 2008/4/3
Posts: 228

 Imprecatory Prayer

I need some SOLID words on this matter as it just doesn't sit well with me. I pray about every situation that comes my way and rely wholely upon the Word but I don't know enough about this as it seems new and strange.

A sister in the Lord has been listening to a man named John Weaver who preaches on imprecatory prayer, I guess it seems to justify cursing people and giving them over to death etc. in the name of the Lord. Now, I have been taught to bless, and curse not and to love my enemies. I also know that the weapons of my warfare are not carnal and that my battle is in the spirit.

This man admits carrying a glock (type of gun), at all times and I just feel a bad feeling as if he somehow supports a revolution in the name of God.

Has anyone heard him or does anyone have any sound words concerning this? At the opening of one of his teachings, he talks about placing curses on public figures to remove them. This is so wrong to me and I would appreciate any input concerning this matter. God bless and please pray before answering. Kathleen


 2010/2/20 5:19Profile

Joined: 2009/1/24
Posts: 453

 Re: Imprecatory Prayer

Weaver is a preacher of Dominion Theology, the doctrine that the kingdom of God (the church) will grow and gain strength until it conquers the world and establishes global theocracy for 1000 years. It's basically 19th century post-millennialism. His doctrine of imprecatory prayer, as you've summarized it, sounds contrary to Jesus' teaching in Matthew 5.

Wayne Kraus

 2010/2/20 10:06Profile

Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re: Imprecatory Prayer

I am not familiar with this man and his teachings, but, I believe imprecatory prayer still has its place in the present dispensation. While we must indeed bless, and not curse our enemies, imprecatory prayer has always and will always be for God to act with justice over a situation. The heart of such prayer has never been for Divine retribution, but the acting of God as the righteous executioner of justice.

There are a lot fewer examples of it in the New Testament than the Old, but, it is still evident just the same. Off the top of my head, consider the following samplings:

2 Timothy 4:14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.

This isn't a formal prayer per say, but, being that Paul walked always in a spirit of prayer, it should be considered such. Paul suffered much harm by a man named Alexander. And what does he seek for? His salvation? No, no doubt Paul already tried to see the man saved, but the man rejected God's plan for his life. He appears to have rejected God's plan for him with violent force. So, kicking the dust off his sandals, Paul has turned Alexander over to God, and now awaits God's justice in his life.

Revelation 6:9 When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"

This is the greatest example of imprecatory prayer in the New Testament that I know of. It is especially fitting that the blood of the martyrs should call out to the Lord in this manner. Indeed, it has been calling out since the slaying of Abel, and the cup of God's wrath is indeed filling up against the nations because of this. Because the Lord is long suffering and kind, willing that none should perish, and that all should come to eternal life, His ultimate retribution is ultimately delayed until the final days of His wrath.

But, as Romans 1 teaches, the wrath of God IS revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness. God does act on behalf of His saints in wrath and judgment in the present age. Indeed, if you will recall in India a few months ago, a large wild stampede of elephants practically destroyed a town, as God unleashed His wrath and anger against a large group of people who have violently been persecuting the Church there. I rejoice in that. I don't rejoice in the death of the wicked, but rather, that God acted justly, and ultimately on behalf of His saints.

If there are any other examples in the New Testament, I can't think of any off the top of my head. But I suspect there might be a reference or two.

Jimmy H

 2010/2/20 11:35Profile

Joined: 2008/4/3
Posts: 228


KingJimmy and Wayneman,

Thanks for your replies. I did a bit of very quick research but knew there were folks here that probably had been exposed to it either way.

I can see this being used as Paul speaking concerning Alexander, but it almost feels as if it is a way to justify praying violence or death against someone. I would truly make sure I'm in the right spirit to even consider such a thing and have only asked for certain people that were ungodly and wicked to be moved from my area. I actually have a very famous horror writer that lives close by, and I'm believing for his salvation and not for his death.

I have a feeling that Paul knew that Alexander had blasphemed the Holy Spirit. Seeing as death and life are in the power of the tongue, I am exremely cautious as to what I pray concerning souls.

Amen, Kathleen


 2010/2/20 17:24Profile

Joined: 2006/2/11
Posts: 2895
Philadelphia PA

 Re: Imprecatory Prayer

Hi everyone.

who preaches on imprecatory prayer, I guess it seems to justify cursing people and giving them over to death etc.

he talks about placing curses on public figures to remove them.

Kathleen, after reading your post this morning I've been meditating on the question you brought up and would like to share a few things that came to mind.

First, I think there is an important distinction to be made between expressing a desire for justice or for God to interven(which KingJimmy already mentioned), and "cursing" others. I'm inclined to believe that there can be a legitimate place for the former under the New Covenant, but I think that great caution is nescessary in even considering the latter. I hope to share a few reasons why.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines [b]imprecatory[/b] this way:

im·pre·cate (¹m“pr¹-k³t”) tr.v. im·pre·cat·ed, im·pre·cat·ing, im·pre·cates. To invoke evil upon; curse. [Latin imprec³ri, imprec³t- : in-, towards; see IN-2 + prec³rº, to pray, ask; see prek- below.] --im“pre·ca”tor n. --im“pre·ca·to”ry (-k…-tôr”¶, -t½r”¶) adj.

There are at least two classes of prayers or examples that came to mind that we could consider - the prayers of David in the Psalms, and also the few New Testament examples, some of which were already mentioned.

[b]The Psalms of David[/b]

A couple of things came to mind that I thought would be important to remember if someone were to use these examples as a pattern for the New Testament believer in authority and prayer.

One, it should be remembered that David was not only a man that had enemies, but he was the King of Israel and fought the Lord's battles(1Sa 25:28) and he sat in the seat that ultimately belonged to God(Gen 49:10, 1Sa 8:7, Luke 1:32) and so his battles and troubles and his enemies were not only his own, but those of the nation, his nation, and of God. David is an exeptional example and though his prayers in the Psalms speak so much to you and I and give a tremendous expression to the variety of things that we all can feel and experience in life, that is not to say that we can or should pray something exactly as David did, because he did it, or that we can use him as a model for everything that you and I do. Prayer is a deeply personal expression to God and what we pray depends on who we are and where we are in life at any moment.

Besides this we know that we have a greater example than David for our personal lives, the Greater son of David, whom David in the Spirit also called Lord. And we have clear instruction from Him(both His words and His examples)to pray for those that take us as enemies, not against them. And to bless them, not invoke upon them a curse.

While I do think there is example in the scripture for desiring to see justice done and judgment of those that persecute the righteous and who do evil to others and do great harm, especially in the life and prayers of David, yet doesn't the Lord Jesus elevate it all? Does He not inject into even the harshest situations a persistent element of mercy and a longing for God's grace so that the believer is nearly always bound to mix into even these sorts of prayers a desire for God to show His compassionate love? are we not always and forever bound so long as we ourselves are sojourning in clay vessels upon the Earth to say with James,

"mercy triumpths over judgement"?

Doesn't He extend patience and offer mercy to the point of the extreme? Doesn't He tell Peter to forgive not 7 but 70 times 7?

I think this then leads us to the second class of examples, those in the New Testament.

[b]The Example of Paul the Apostle[/b]

About 2 Timothy 4:14, I agree with KingJimmy that it is reasonable to believe that Paul had for sometime strove with this man with only the desire for his good, but he says that he had [i]greatly withstood our words[/i]. And so now it appears that Paul had given up and, in writting to Timothy, expresses a desire that God would(or perhaps will) judge him according to what he had done(I think more that Paul may have been only expressing confidence that God would reward this man according to what he had done, not nescessarily asking that God would do so).

Whatever the Apostle had intended to express exactly, he doesn't ask God to do anything specifically, that is he doesn't 'curse' the man or express a desire that God would cause him to die, for example. Whatever the case, I think we can be confident that Paul, who had elsewhere said that God bore him witness, that he could wish [b]himself[/b] accursed(from Christ) for the sake of his kinsmen, that he was not praying with malice or a desire that this man would perish or even die for that matter.

But does God permit believers to put a 'curse' upon others?

Another example from the New Testament that stood out in thinking on these things was the incident that is described in Acts 13 between Paul and a man named Elymas who is there described as a 'sorcerer'. Does this incident, where as soon as Paul pronounces an evil sentence upon him it comes to pass, does something like this serve as a scriptural precedent for believers to say or to ask similar things from God to come upon others?

One, Paul was an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ and he was as much an earthly mouthpiece for God as the prophets were of old. He not only wrote under the inspiration of God, but at times he spoke under His inspiration also and here is no less an example of that.

I do not believe that Paul, in saying what he did to the man, was [i]asking[/i] anything of God, not at all, but he was rather declaring what God was about to and was then going to do. This is prophetic forthtelling and not prayer, imprecatory or otherwise, at all.

Just as David who was also a prophet could say under inspiration 'let their table become a snare before them'(see Psalm 69:22, Romans 11:9), yet he does not express his own heart only, but is ultimatley saying something of or from and under the inspiration of God.

So, does God then permit believers to put a 'curse' upon others, according to their own will?

I can't say that I know exactly what God may or may not permit you or someone else to do, but my question would be, are they speaking for God?

As to what our desire for others should be and how we should pray for others, as for me, knowing how much and how often I have needed God's mercy and patience and forgiveness, I can not find any way to be consistent in my own heart and conscience than to always be asking for the same for others.

I suspect that if a man is teaching that we as believers can excercise spiritual authority over the powers of this world by praying against the people that hold it, that they are mistaking the spiritual authority that believers are given over spirts(Luke 10:19) for something to be used against the people in this world! God forbid, so far as I'm concernened.

That sounds more like witchcraft to me.

Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2010/2/20 18:13Profile

Joined: 2008/4/3
Posts: 228



Thankyou, thankyou. This is pretty much what I have been praying and fasting about all day and your very last quote, "That sounds more like witchcraft to me." is precisely what I shared with this sister when she encouraged me to listen to his messages. I could only listen to about 10 minutes as I felt it was important to guard myself from this.

Can any of us say that we walked in the same realm as Paul the Apostle or any of the prophets that preceded us. Art Katz made mention of the fact that it seemed that the Lord uses those that are least wanting to carry out judgements, as there is no question that their own flesh is involved.

Playing with scripture to accomodate our desire to see God "send fire from heaven" is absolutely wrong, and we must always search ourselves to insure our motives are correct. We are commanded to bless and curse not, and to pray for those that despitefully use us. There are many spirits out there, not just the Holy One.

Thankyou once again for asking counsel of the Lord on this. It is expedient that we refrain from running to and fro and listening to whoever sounds good at the moment.

May this sister soon see the error that is being preached. Our Lord spoke more of meekness and mercy than the judgement that rightfully belongs to Him.


 2010/2/20 19:34Profile

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