“Imprecation” means “invoking of evil, a curse.” In descriptions of psalms or prayers, it means asking God to rightly punish those who are deserving of it. Use of this type of prayer may not be a pleasant thought, but the grave sins of evil men make many things as we wish they were not. Imprecatory prayer is one of the helps God extends to us in times of such need.
When? The situation in which to offer a righteous imprecatory prayer is 1) when it is a cause that God will support, 2) you are suffering a terrible harm and 3) other means of relief are not available. These are not simply prayers of vengeance, but prayers of dependence on God as the only hope of help.
Who? All who would plead for God to relieve them from the evil of his enemies must truly make sure that their enemy cannot rightly ask for the same relief because of the pleader’s action. The righteous imprecatory prayer is a tool for the innocent only.
We read two psalms that were imprecatory prayers in our Bible reading this week (Ps. 35 & 52). There are nine others as well. (Ps. 12, 31, 55, 59, 64, 79, 83, 94, 140).
We hope that we never need to pray for the Lord to punish evildoers who are harming us, but sometimes that is the only way to find relief. Righteous imprecatory prayer is the last hope of the patient, innocent, faithful saint.