“All my enemies are before you…. Pour out your wrath on them; let your fierce anger overtake them…. May your salvation, O God, protect me.”Psalm 69:19, 24, 29
Each of us believers was once an enemy of God but now stands redeemed in Jesus. We also have been called to love our neighbors and pray for those who persecute us. So we may wonder what to make of prayers found in the psalms which call out for God’s judgment on enemies. We take many of the psalms as patterns for our own prayers, so should Scripture passages like Psalm 58, 69, or 109 inform our prayers, too? The short answer is yes.
While most of the psalmists’ words are not imprecatory, the psalms that do pray against evil are uttered out of weakness and a realization that God is the only source of perfectly righteous judgment. God hates evil; so should we.
When we pray for evil to be stopped, we are asking that God’s kingdom come. Because we have put our faith in the One who came to this earth to conquer sin once and for all, we know that evil does not get the last word. Jesus does. He told His followers to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16), so we bring those truths into our prayers as well.
“Father, let your wrath come down on evil. We pray for your justice on those who—in their delusion of what is right—have taken the lives of your people.”