David Chilton wrote this for Chalcedon in 1997.
What are “imprecatory Psalms,” and why are they in the Bible?
These psalms are prayers that call down curses on the wicked and unrighteous, and there are actually quite a few of them to be found throughout the Bible, not just in the Book of Psalms. Chilton doesn’t even mention Psalm 109, the most brass-knuckled of them all (“Let his days be few; and let another take his office”).
Yeahbut, yeahbut! What about loving your enemies? Well, what kind of love is it to let the wicked prosper? Pray for their repentance, pray for their conversion. However unlikely that might ever be. But God forbid that they should accomplish their designs. Sometimes they do; but that’s God’s department, not ours.
Mr. Chilton explains just what these prayers are supposed to do. I often resort to Psalm 94 (“O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth…”)–and it’s not because I like to see the wicked winning.
At this low point in our country’s history, we need to be praying hard, praying unceasingly. May the righteous Lord avenge the crimes committed against our country.