Imprecatory Prayers and Poetry

King David, from the Old Testament, wrote many imprecatory prayers, or I would say imprecatory poems, otherwise known as psalms. From my NASB Study Bible, the footnote from Psalms 5:10 states “they are appeals to God to redress wrongs perpetrated against the psalmists by imposing penalties commensurate with the violence done – in accordance also with also with normal judicial procedure in human courts.”

According to Crosswalk, “Imprecations … are found in high poetry and are the product of reasoned meditation (not to mention divine inspiration!).”

Along with being “high poetry,” imprecatory prayers can mean the difference between living or dying. They are reserved for life threatening situations that have no relief available, and must be within God’s will. People praying these prayers have no human recourse for justice – and the evil never stops.

It is an attack not only on the person crying out to God, but an attack on God Himself. Most attacks of this kind are to destroy a person’s God given purpose, a way to shut him up permanently. Today this is extremely pertinent.

It has to be prayed with great humility, relying on the Lord Himself to bring justice and relief from the evil. Rom. 12:19 says, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,’ says the Lord.” Humility includes no gloating during and after justice is served, or the Lord could stop his judgment on the evildoers. And if you are in such a state as to need answers to this prayer, relief means no gloating. Joy that the evil is over is very biblical, a way of thanking God for answering prayers.

Many years ago, I spent two weeks in a women’s shelter to get relief from a shaming relationship. The last several years, I am currently surrounded in a situation that requires these type of prayers daily. At the beginning of this current situation, the Lord gave me Psalms 35 to read, verses 26-27 catching my attention. It has been extraordinarily difficult, but God has been good, taking care of the big things and the small details. And I attribute a large portion of my protection to these prayers. As far as poetry, most of my posts tagged under “Empowered Individuals” describe my life in very metaphorical terms.

I feel the Church has, by design, been neutered in spiritual warfare. I believe we are where we are today because the Church is uncomfortable with spiritual warfare. Actually, with any form of power from the Holy Spirit. Jesus said we would do greater works than Him (John 14:12). The power is there if we use it according to biblical standards.


I have been hard-hitting this week. I normally like to encourage, but felt led to post the way I have. Tomorrow I will end the week with something light-hearted. Joyful.