This one comes to us from Nathan Hoff.

The god of my own imagining used to prefer edited prayers. Knee-deep in the psalter these days, I have greater appreciation for full-blown imprecation, even as a Christian. Imprecatory psalms—the ones that curse enemies—are that category that never gets read in public worship. They don’t fit with the generally positive vibe of big-box Christian gatherings, and liturgical parishes never schedule them to be read in their lectionaries. We accidentally read Psalm 137 instead of Psalm 37 one Sunday. We heard about “dashing ‘their’ baby heads against the stones” instead of “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” That was awkward. Are they offensive? Seriously! “Declare them guilty” (Ps 5). “Pour out your indignation on them” (Ps 69). “Knock their teeth out” (Ps 58). I call them “pissed off prayers.” They are not pious. But who said prayer was supposed to be pious?

In some ways, when we are at our most unvarnished, our most unedited, we are also at our most trusting. Imprecation is unedited prayer from an unedited soul looking to God alone. They are not far along in the steps of forgiveness. They have felt no healing or relief yet. But they have involved God in their rage, offense, and victimization from the start of the pain. Why wait? Should the victim wait until they processed their pain apart from God? Do you think God is relieved to be spared the unedited prayers? Only the small god trapped in a religious sanctuary is relieved by that kind of prayer. The big God—you know, the One who created all of heaven and earth—is well aware of how we have messed it all up. If that real God prickled at our impiety, he would have given up along time ago. No, instead he has given us impious prayers to pray out of our rashness. We can bring our unedited curses. We can think ungodly thoughts in the presence of God. 

Thinking bad thoughts when talking to God is better than thinking bad thoughts on our own. Then he is in on the conversation. We call on him for revenge. He responds, “Got it! Vengeance is mine” (Rm 12). Imprecation might not be the final prayer of forgiveness. But it might be the beginning.