Luther on Imprecatory Praying

We should pray that our enemies be converted and become our friends and, if not, that their doing and designing be bound to fail and have no success and that their persons perish rather than the Gospel and the kingdom of Christ.”

Martin Luther
Luther’s Works, vol. 21: The Sermon on the Mount and the Magnificat, ed. J. Pelikan, A. T. W. Steinhaeuser (St. Louis: Concordia, 1956), p. 1100.

Those who refuse to pray imprecatory prayers are those who are an example of people who are seeking to be “nicer than God.”

The refusal to pray for the destruction of God’s enemies who refuse to turn and be converted is a demonstration of preferring a carnal sympathy for the wicked above making a stand for the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Why should the wicked who refuse to bow the knee continue to be busy about their plans to tear down God’s Kingdom without knowing that the righteous are pleading for their plan to ruin God’s Kingdom advance be ruined?

There is no neutrality in our prayer life. If we are going to pray “thy Kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” then we must pray God at the same time for the destruction of all those who would not labor with us to see God’s kingdom come.

Of course, we pray first for their conversion. They are miserable in their sins and it is a requisite and heartfelt kindness to them for us to pray for God to be kind to them by rescuing them from sin just as He was to us in rescuing us from sin. By the same reasoning, it is a requisite and heartfelt kindness to God to pray that the persons of His enemies perish rather than the Gospel and the kingdom if they kick against the goads of God’s command for all men everywhere to repent.

As Christians, we should have great pity for those outside of Christ. Greater still though should be our compassion for the triune God and His authority. Every tear dropped for the wicked and their conversion should be matched by two tears dropped for God and the advancement of His Kingdom and the making known of His glory.

Touching imprecatory prayer Martin Luther was right and Mike Horton and R2K is in error.

“The imprecatory prayers, invoking God’s judgment on the enemies, are appropriate on the lips of David and the martyrs in heaven. However, they are entirely out of place on the lips of Christians today, guided as we are not by the ethics of intrusion but by the ethics of common grace.” 

Dr. Michael Horton

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

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