Anonymous – Is it appropriate to pray against our perceived enemies? This includes praying against fellow Christians, if necessary. I do think there are a lot of people who demonstrate evil behavior while claiming to be a Christian. We often hear about the importance of praying for our enemies; however, at times, it seems more appropriate to pray right against them. If you can, please give examples of people in the Bible dealing with this dilemma.

Dave – Thanks for the question. When David needed protection, he ran to God for refuge. David prayed that God would rise up against his enemies in Psalm 7. This type of prayer is called an imprecatory prayer. Two questions arise: 1) Was David out of the spirit by selfishly praying for the downfall of his enemies? and 2) Is it right for us to pray this type of prayer today?

In John 15:25, Jesus quotes Psalm 35:19 and 69:4, and Paul did so as well in Romans 11:9-10, which is a quote of Psalm 69:22-23. Since Jesus and Paul quoted verses from these imprecatory psalms, it proves those psalms were inspired by God and removes all doubt that they were sinful or simply selfish prayers of revenge. Since Jesus wants us to pray for our enemies, however, I find it difficult to justify asking Him to destroy someone. Rather we should pray that the evil spirit working through that person be stopped because the New Testament reveals that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against evil spiritual powers (Ephesians 6). In addition, Jesus’ disciples were about to pray that God would send lightening down onto a village where they were rejected, but Jesus warned them not to do so because they did not realize what spirit they were of at that moment (Luke 9:55).

In the case of a bin Laden-type, I think it’s good to ask God to stop him, leaving the HOW up to God alone. After all, we are to be “salt” in this earth (preserver of righteousness). Jesus did say if a person lives by the sword, he will die by the sword. So it comes as no surprise that bin Laden met with violent deaths.

Feedback so far:

Anonymous (the questioner) – Great response brother, thank you.

Nels F. – Wonderful answer my friend–for I too have often wondered how to pray for folks I can’t stand—
for all the evil they are doing–what I do– I pray in the spirit for them until I find peace!

Mark D. – Great answer!

Cindi L. – It’s interesting when you read Ps. 69:21 is prophetically speaking of when they offered Christ
vinegar on the cross…in Ps. 69:22-28 is pretty condemning – when you turn to the NEW Testament where
this happened recorded in Luke 23:36 Jesus said just before that in verse 34forgive them because they know not what they do“. Dave, I think your Eph. 6 reminder is the toughest one for me to constantly retrain my fleshly brain – I think it is an excellent standard to keep reaching for – doing spiritual warfare. No wonder we have to be constantly “renewed in the spirit of our minds“..Eph. 4:23. I think we are suppose to pray against the “spirit that is at work in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2, 5:6, Colossians 3:6). I think your response to this question is very good. I also think that David was physically fighting for the continuation of God’s “kingdom” on earth and now we fight spiritually for that.