Does God answer prayers to do someone ill?

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(UNDATED) Ever since Pastor Wiley Drake declared not once, but three times, on national radio that he was praying for the death of President Obama, he has been trying to clarify. Yes, he really does want God to smite Obama. No, it’s not a partisan prayer. Yes, it’s in the Bible, he says, and no, […]

  • Sean

    I would wonder that if people honestly believe in the power of imprecator prayer, why can’t they be charged with a crime if they admit to asking for the death or injure of another person?

    It’s one thing to wish that someone would have an unfortunate end, but quite another to ask God to take action. If you truly believe in God, this is like pointing a gun at someone. It doesn’t matter if the gun is subsequently found to be unloaded, the intent was there, and the person wanted to do harm. Either you believe in God and you accept responsibility for asking him to do terrible things on your behalf, or you admit that these prayers are nothing more than an outlet for impotent rage.

    Drake’s gun may or may not be loaded but he’s still waving it at people.

  • Mark

    Excellent post Sean. These “evil spells” obviously don’t have any effect on the real world, but as you say, if the person using them believes they are real, then they are guilty of attempted crimes.

  • Felix

    It’s just a tiny – terrifyingly tiny – step from ‘I asked God to send someone to pull the trigger’ to ‘I was asked by God to pull the trigger’.
    If you really believe the former is received by an entity who is inclined to fulfill your wish, then it is no moral difference at all to following through when the voices start speaking your inner frustrations.
    Terrorism starts long before the first shot.

  • Folks read the positive Psalms of David as metaphors, and then make the error of reading the negative ‘imprecatory’ Psalms literally. This paints anyone who embraces Biblical literalism into a theological corner.

    On the other hand, if the incredible spiritual energy of the curses contained in the imprecatory Psalms are directed (as metaphors) by Spiritual Men against our true enemies (fear, greed, anger, resentment) then they have the ability to liberate our souls.

    Pastor Wiley Drake claims to believe the Bible literally, as many Fundamentalists do, and consequently he must read these Psalms literally, but by doing so he misses their transcendent beauty and power.

    Pastor Drake would be better served to return to the words of Jesus in the NT, i.e., Matthew 27, where Jesus teaches that ‘out of the good treasure of a good man’s heart he brings forth good things’ and ‘out the bad man, from his bad heart, comes forth bad things’.

    And so I must wonder, what’s stored in my heart, and what am I bringing forth?

  • Roland

    It is a good thing God also answers prayers with a NO.
    Jesus set the example of how Christians should pray, “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done On Earth As It Is In Heaven”.
    Nowhere did Jesus pray these kind of prayers, in fact even His own prayers for those people who crucified Him were “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”
    I also believe that when we pray evil on our enemies it causes a root of bitterness to spring up and take root in our own hearts, which we are specifically warned to guard ourselves against both in Hebrews 12:5 (specifically) and in Proverbs 4:23 (generally).

  • Marcus Hill

    I’m all for very public imprecatory prayers. They have no real ill effect on the person being prayed against due to the nonexistence of the entity being prayed to, and they have the useful side effect of labelling the person praying as a dangerous, hateful nutjob.

  • Sean

    Roland, Jesus also asked that those who do not accept him as their king be brought before him and slain. I suppose he prefers that we do the killing rather than asking him to do it.

  • What Klingenschmitt prayed for — “to cut off their descendants” — fits the definition of genocide in the United Nations 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. I’m glad to see Klingenschmitt is no longer with the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. government is not promoting genocide.

  • Ian

    Just proves that the lunatics aren’t in the asylum but in churches. Anyone who believes that a god answers a prayer (for good or bad) needs some help. Prayers get answered by the person who made them i.e. they got off their a** and did something to correct the situation or it got fixed by coincidence/good luck.

    I shake my head in despair when i read about people like this.

  • Dr. Benway

    Imprecatory prayer, like blasphemy are victimless crimes. I would rather see ALL the preachers and flocks praying fervently for whatever it is they pray to than have them on the streets killing people.

    It does no harm. It’s kind of silly, but at least it doesn’t bother decent people.

  • Pope Corky XXIV

    I guess the old saying is true, “Dear Lord, please protect me from your followers!”

  • Mark Hudson

    David was human, and everything that everyone prayed for in the Bible was not inspired by God, but expressions of the heart and mind, sometimes good and sometimes not so good. I have prayed for justice against the Wall Street crooks and the beltway politicians who continue to rip off consumers and taxpayers. (Not their death, just justice, and leaave that in God’s hands.)If we were honest, most of us have had similar if not identical thoughts. Human honesty does not subvert the inspiration of scripture. Just shows its real and not some perfected fantasy or mythology, as David was a real historical person. I think his imprecatory prayers were designed not so much as personal vendettas but 1. Desires to see God honored, those who oppose and hate him vanquished, so that social justice could be realized. He probably understood these concepts and principles better than some who herein think God doesn’t exist and those who “follow” or “believe” are just fruits, nuts, and flakes. It takes more faith to believe in random chance and accidents of pure nature only. Today, the NT idea of mercy and forgiveness trumps revenge and even justice, but that doesn’t mean God has ceased to be just. We should love and fear God at the same time we obey Him. Mark Hudson

  • Bob Nelson

    Very, very sick people here.

  • God, protect me from the Christians.

  • Mark Hudson

    It is sad that some people who may be honestly seeking and searching for answers to life’s riddles too often fail to find them because of the actions of a few religious adherents who are on the lunatic/radical fringe. The risk or danger of looking at the actions of a few misguided or overenthusiastic zealots and throwing out the faith on that basis alone is like the proverbial “throwing out the baby with the bath water” Some posters who have dismissed Christianity on that basis may have been guilty of this logical fallacy of rejecting a truth based on the actions of some who, due to immaturity or stupidity or whatever, misrepresent the faith. Do we throw out all science because of some scientists who dance to a different drummer or are offbeat? judging the credibility of a worldview based on a few misguided followers with their imperfect interpretations of theology is sad. I fear that with my own faith walk, due to my “humaness” I may have disillusioned someone. The reality of my own bad example is tempered by the fact that some people are just looking for a good excuse to toss out what they don’t really want to believe because it may commit them to something they are not ready to commit to regardless of how true it may be. There is an old saying “He who is convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” Beyond all the intellectual wrangling over worldviews is a oft-overlooked component, beyond the mind, of the heart and will. I think most agnostic/atheists who browbeat religion (which often deserves it) and Christianity do so not on intellectual grounds but on visceral, emotional, volitional grounds. This is a sad and dangerous thing. Beliefs have consequences and how sad to sabotage our worldview by looking at the thinkings/actions of a few pathetic representatives of that worldview. In my city we have a “church” that protests a certain lifestyle by public picketing with obscene posters and talking about how much God hates this and that. What a sad and pathetic reflection of the nobel truths of Christianity, love, mercy, forgiveness, helping the poor, social justice, etc. ideals that have enobled and helped humanity for 2 millenia, building schools, hospitals, soup kitchens, etc. When is the last time you heard of a hospital or rescue mission built by atheists? Well, I have prattled on long enough with my contribution to Western Civilization. Logging off. God bless. MH

  • Lor

    I think there’s a thin line between fervently wishing for someone’s death, and carrying it out or encouraging others to do so.

    These people are not Christians, they do not follow Christ, they are Old Testament Dominionists. I see little mental difference between them and the Muslim Jihadists.

    That free speech is allowed to be abused in this manner; that it’s ok to call for others death (?!) is an indication of something askew in this country.

    One does have to wonder however; if evil is as evil does, I suppose these people shouldn’t be surprised if all their evil intentions masquerading as ‘prayers’ are responded to by the demons of their own cosmology. Either that, or we are getting perilously close to the reveal – that the god of the bible was an evil entity.

  • ……

    God is hardly a gun that will go off when you pull the trigger. I do not have anything to say about this kind of prayer because I simply do not know enough. But the way I just read God be compared to a gun is ridiculous. He is not some weapon to be wielded and if you are a believer then you should understand it is not we who call the shots, it’s God. God would not do something unless it is his will. He has a mind and an understanding we do not. Charging someone for what the pray is a joke. Please think about what you wrote. That is insane.

  • Mike

    This sounds like a practice called charismatic witchcraft. It is the leadership through mind control. It is the result of people following a man instead of God and being cursed. If you are being attacked spiritually, whether through bad prayers or otherwise, the only safety is to be righteous because the daemons cannot affect you.



  • David Hellsten

    I just want to say that I’m an evangelical pastor (Swedish, ministering in England), and I do not understand how any Christian can pray for the death of anybody. Jesus told us to pray for our enemies (Matt 5:44), and James tells us quite clearly that you can’t both praise God and curse humans (Jam 3:10). So please don’t judge all Christians on what some extremists (who seem to think they still live in the Old Testament) say and do!!

  • How can a PASTOR go on air and say something like that multiple times and think it’s ok? Something is wrong with that scenario….

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of Obama’s…but I don’t wish him to be “smited”!