Pray, and Curse Not

The Misguided "Prayer" of Malediction

One trend that has taken hold in many Christian circles of our day is known as "maledictory prayer" or "imprecatory prayer," in which the believer asks God to effectuate personal harm on the person, or persons, who are the object of the prayer (specific evildoers and/or government leaders). wishes to go on record as 100% opposed to this unbiblical practice.

Those who encourage this sort of "prayer" are typically sincere, devout Christians, who defend their erroneous practice by drawing heavily on Old Testament examples.  But, we must keep in mind that the Old Testament (which is, of course, 100% the inspired Word of God) portrays God's plan for Man under the Old Covenant.  And, though Jesus did not come to do away with the Old Covenant, He did come to fulfill it, and to usher in a glorious New Covenant with Man, based on His own blood sacrifice.  So, under the New Covenant, we should not call down curses on anyone in prayer, any more than we should sacrifice a lamb or, for that matter, stone to death a preacher who has been caught in an extramarital affair.

"But," you may say, "doesn't God hate Sin as much as He ever did?"  Of course He does; God the Righteous Judge does not change.  It's just that He has ushered in a New Contract (covenant) with Mankind through the shed blood of Jesus -- a contract that gloriously exceeds all the provisions of the Old, especially in dealing with Sin.

So, before we Christians buy into the dangerous doctrine of maledictory/imprecatory "prayer," let us prayerfully review some of the teachings and examples of the New Testament, and then humbly ask the Holy Spirit to flood our hearts with the light of His truth.

"Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, 'Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?' But He turned and rebuked them, and said, 'You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.' And they went to another village."
- Luke 9:51-56 (NKJV)

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."
- Matthew 5:43-45 (NKJV)

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.... Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord. Therefore, 'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
- Romans 12:14, 17-21 (NKJV)

"For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.... For [the authority] is God’s minister.... Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.... Render therefore to all their due ... fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor."
- Romans 13:1-7 (NKJV, excerpts)

"Then Paul said to him, 'God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! For you sit to judge me according to the law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the law?'  And those who stood by said, 'Do you revile God’s high priest?'  Then Paul said, 'I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, "You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people."'"
- Acts 23:3-5 (NKJV)

"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior."
- I Timothy 2:1-3 (NKJV)