This is the Fifth teaching regarding Imprecatory Prayer
The number 5 is an interesting number and has several spiritual meanings in the Bible. Most of us have been taught the number 5 symbolizes grace. One Bible Study says: The number 5 symbolizes Yahweh’s grace, His goodness and favor towards humans and Five is the number, when multiplied by itself, 5 upon 5 is 25, is “grace upon grace.” (John 1:16: And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace KJV)
The Ten Commandments contains two sets of 5 commandments, with the first five related to our treatment and relationship with God and the last five concern our relationship with other humans. Interesting don’t you think?
I have a personal testimony about the number 5 and it’s meaning. One night I was sleeping and awoke to someone audibly calling out my name, “Bonnie.” I opened my eyes and looked around. My mother’s two cats were sacked and there was no one in the room but us. Then, in my mind’s ear, I heard the word grace and the number 5.
I was puzzled, because my understanding of the number 5 and the word grace meant the same. Was there a hidden message for me here? I finally wrote down on a posted note, my name, the word grace and the number 5 and as we say, put it on the shelf. I am not sure of what year it was, but I wrote Saturday, the 24th.
A couple months later Risa Utley and I went to a Mike Bickle IHOP (Kansas City International House of Prayer) conference in Kansas City. We were there three days and on the last day, I went into the bookstore area and purchased an Ira Milligan Book on the meaning of dreams. We drove back to Tennessee and decided to check in with Deb Inghram, who was the President of Firestorm Ministries at that time and share events from the conference.
Risa was talking to Deb and I just happened to pick up the book I bought and the numbers section came up. The number 5 in this book said: FIVE – Serve: Works, service….. yada yada, but I did not need to go any further. I had my answer for my prophetic word from Saturday, the 24th; Yahweh called my Name and gave me Grace to Serve. I was undone.
Maybe this Imprecatory Prayer Part 5 segment is a call to you to pray and intercede (serve) on a new level? I am confident praying in this manner through imprecations is more powerful than what I have been doing in the past and hope it brings a witness to your spirit too. The world needs our prayers.
As I study, I continue to learn imprecation prayers are not new and there are a lot of people who have and are writing about it. It is like everywhere I look there are teachings and lots of information to chew on and share. So, here we go.
A couple of days ago, I just happened to catch a short teaching where Michael Heiser was sharing where the first imprecatory theme came from. Are you ready? He said Yahweh made a covenant with Abraham and said? I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you. Genesis 12:3
When David prayed the imprecatory prayers in the “War Psalms,” he was reminding Yahweh of his promise in Genesis to bless those who blessed him and curse those who were cursing him, and know this, THAT promise belonged to David and it belongs to us too.
Some people are extremely against praying the imprecatory prayers as they think they are for personal vengeance, un-Christian and have no place in our prayer rooms, but is that really true?
I’m going to Nehemiah, Chapter 4, where Nehemiah is repairing the Wall and Sanballat and his crew are coming against him. Here is what is written.
1 But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews. 2 And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned? 3 Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall.
Sure sounds like they are cursing the work of Nehemiah and his workers. What did Nehemiah do? He prayed, but he did NOT take justice into his own hands, he went before Yahweh with imprecations against Sanballat and his group.
4 Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity: 5 And cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee: for they have provoked thee to anger before the builders. 6 So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.
When Sanballat and his group saw the walls of Jerusalem were up, they plotted to fight against the Jews. They tried several times to set up a private meeting with Nehemiah, probably to cause him great harm, but he said he was busy and would not go.
7 But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth, 8 And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it.
So, who was Sanballat? He was the governor of Samaria, an enemy of the Jews (Yahweh). He had powerful and wealthy support under his control and watch this, his deeds are examples of our warfare being: “against the rulers, against the powers,… against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
Consider this in examining Nehemiah’s prayer.
1) In opposing the Jews, Sanballat and company were actually opposing God.
2) God had already pronounced judgment on Israel’s enemies. Nehemiah was praying according to God’s will – that God would deliver Jerusalem from her enemies in Joshua. 1-5:
“There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”)
3) Nehemiah was praying that God would bring about what He had promised Abraham regarding those who curse His people (Gen. 12:3).
4) Vengeance belongs to God, not to Nehemiah or other believers (cf. Deut. 32:35; Rom. 12:19).
In the Psalms the psalmists did not hesitate to avow their loyalty to Yahweh and His covenant, because they were on Yahweh’s side. In their zeal to champion righteousness, their words frequently contain imprecations or curses. They prayed that God would break the arms of the wicked (Ps. 10:15) smash their teeth (58:6) and turn His wrath on them (69:22-28).
The psalmists were filled with zeal for God’s theocracy (His Reign and Authority). These expressions released in the prayers were not indications of personal vendetta. A Theocracy is a Government ruled by or subject to religious authority, a form of government, in which God is recognized as the supreme civil ruler of the state, and His laws are taken as the statute-book of the kingdom.
To pray the imprecatory psalms is ultimately to pray as Jesus taught us to pray. As Christians, we long for God’s kingdom to come. We yearn for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, as written in the Lord’s Prayer. Praying the imprecatory psalms is not a call to arms, but a call to faith. We lift our voices, not our swords, as we pray for God either to convert or curse the enemies of Christ and His kingdom.
Imprecatory Psalms in the Old Testament
Psalms. 5:10; 6:10; 7:6; 9:19-20; 10:2,15; 17:13; 28:4; 31:17-18; 35:1,4-8,19,24-26; 40:14-15; 41:10; 54:5; 55:9-15; 56:7; 58:6-10; 59:5,11-14; 63:9-10; 68:1-2; 69:22-28; 70:2-3; 71:13; 79:6,10-12; 83:9-18 (cf. Judges 4:15-21; 5:25-27); 94:1-4; 97:7; 104:35; 109:6-19,29; 119:84; 129:5-7; 137:7-9; 139:19-22; 140:8-11; 141:10; 143:12
Before you jump the gun saying imprecatory prayers are under the law in the Old Testament, no longer valid, are immoral, cruel and inappropriate for a New Testament Christian, think on this.
Both the Old Testament and the New Testament are the inspired Words of Yahweh. Though the New Testament is known as Grace, if we study, we will find there is Grace in the Old Testament too. For example in Genesis 6:8: But Noah found favor and grace in the eyes of the Lord.
The New Testament reveals and confirms the Old Testament, plus there is grace in the OT and there is grace in the NT, likewise there is law in the OT and there is law in the NT.
The book of Hebrews in the New Testament is full of comparisons to the old life under “the law” and the new life we live by Yahweh’s forgiving grace. Check out these verses from just one chapter in Hebrews (10: 11-12, 16-18):
“Under the old covenant, the priest stands before the altar day after day, offering sacrifices that can never take away sins. But our High Priest offered himself to God as one sacrifice for sins, good for all time. ‘This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts so they will understand them, and I will write them on their minds so they will obey them.’ Then he adds, ‘ I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.’” NLT
As God’s new creation we actually want to obey His law – not because it gets us anything, but because of our love for Him. Psalms 40:8 reveals: “I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” (Psalm 40:8)
It is dangerous to set ourselves up as judges, pitting Scripture against Scripture between the Old and New Testaments, because God’s moral law is immutable and everywhere the same. It is foolish to invalidate prayers assuming they are defective and only reveal a man’s sinful desire for vengeance on his personal enemies, when they are instead, prayers being sent up to the very Courtroom of Heaven crying out for JUSTICE to Yahweh where He sits as the Judge, reminding Him of the promise He made to Abraham many, many years before, to bless those who bless us and curse those who curse us. They remind Yahweh, state their case and leave the verdict and the sentence in the Hands of Yahweh, for it is written “Vengeance is MINE”, saith the FATHER. Romans 12:9
Furthermore, what do we do with the “imprecatory prayers” released on the enemies of God found in the New Testament? How about this one:
Galatians 1:8: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” This is Paul speaking.
Luke 10:10-16: But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this,, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city. Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. but it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.
He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despisesth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.
And there are more: I Corinthians 16:21-22; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10; 2 Timothy 4:14; Revelation 6:10; 19:1-2.
I will not leave out the prayer Jesus told the disciples (and us) to pray, “The Lord’s Prayer”, “Thy kingdom come” in Matthew 6:10. This prayer is for the Church, you and I, to pray to invoke (call forth) divine judgment on all other kingdoms and all those who oppose the “reign” of Yahweh. Selah (Think about it)
Jesus, The Christ, used imprecatory language in Matthew 23. Hang on – here come the Woe’s. Do you know the meaning of the word “woe?” In the Greek:
Whenever we see the word “woe” in the New Testament, it is always a translation of the Greek word “ouai”. This Greek word “ouai” is used 47 times in the New Testament: 41 times in 33 verses it is translated as “woe”, and six times in three verses it is translated as “alas”.
Those are the only times “woe” and “alas” appear in the New Testament. So let’s look at the meaning of this Greek word, and then see why the translators translated it as “alas” in six places.
The Greek word “ouai” is used in the following three ways:
1) It is used to express a denunciation; i.e. to pronounce someone or something as blameworthy and evil.
2) It is used to express a severe calamity, a severe distress or affliction.
3) It is used to express great grief
Jesus is speaking evil curses of calamity, grief over the scribes and the Pharisees and hypocrites in Matthew 23.
13 “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.”
14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.
15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!
17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?
18 And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty.
19 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?
20 Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon.
21 And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein.
22 And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.
23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.
28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,
30 And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.
31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.
32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.
33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
When Yahshua/Jesus returns, Vengeance will be His as He sits upon the Great White Throne Of Judgment and separates the sheep to the right and the goats to his left and brings Justice. He will speak imprecations over those who have been against Him in Matthew 25 verses 41-46. He will no longer be mocked.
41 Then He will say to those at His left hand, Begone from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!
42 For I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink,
43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome Me and entertain Me, I was naked and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not visit Me [f]with help and ministering care.
44 Then they also [in their turn] will answer, Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?
45 And He will reply to them, Solemnly I declare to you, in so far as you failed to do it for the least [[g]in the estimation of men] of these, you failed to do it for Me.
46 Then they will go away into eternal punishment, but those who are just and upright and in right standing with God into eternal life.
Imprecatory Prayer Teachings Part 1-4