Praying the Cursing Psalms image

Praying the Cursing Psalms

We had a wonderful discussion with Trevor Laurence recently on the Mere Fidelity podcast, on the subject of the cursing (or "imprecatory") psalms. Of all the episodes we've recorded, this is one of my very favourites (up there with Karen Swallow Prior, Preston Sprinkle and Carl Trueman), and if you've ever wondered how to pray these difficult psalms for yourself, this will be a huge help.

In summary, Trevor highlights five contexts in which you need to read the cursing psalms:

1) Social-historical, whereby the ancient world is less governed by individualism and freedom, and more governed by communitarian justice, than our culture.

2) Biblical-theological, framed by the narrative of crushing the snake and protecting God’s people (and space) from pollution and destruction.

3) Christological, in which Jesus is by turns the psalmist who is praying, the judge to whom the prayer is addressed, and the “enemy” who is judged, all in different ways.

4) Eschatological, such that the world is ultimately cleansed from evil altogether, and every prayer for the kingdom to come is a cry for that day to be brought about.

5) Hamartiological, whereby we ask the question of where evil is truly to be found—not just “out there” but “in here”—and are led to confession and repentance.

Check it out.

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