Bonhoeffer on Praying Imprecatory Psalms

Let their own table before them become a snare;
    and when they are at peace, let it become a trap
Let their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see,
    and make their loins tremble continually.
Pour out your indignation upon them,
    and let your burning anger overtake them.
May their camp be a desolation;
    let no one dwell in their tents.   –   Psalm 69

Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites
    the day of Jerusalem,
how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare,
    down to its foundations!”
O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed,
    blessed shall he be who repays you
    with what you have done to us!
Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones
    and dashes them against the rock! –  Psalm 137

The words above are uneasy on the ears, unpleasant on Coasters and unquotable in Prayers. They are however from the Bible, not embarrassingly so but right there in an uncensored Word of God and insofar as we still know it to be so, must be comfortable with them as we want to with God. Although, we know all tears and tempestuous seas will be rid off is the promise and there are waiting periods with all promises otherwise they cease to be what we have said they were. And so we wait, but in the here and now of ISIS, Syria and Paedophilia such words are not unthinkable if we live in an unsanitized world but he comes with a sword and white horse (think samurai and western combined).

The question then is, in the here and now, can we pray these words. Bonhoeffer says:

“In so far as we are sinners and express evil thoughts in a prayer of vengeance, we dare not do so. But in so far as Christ is in us, the Christ who took all the vengeance of God upon himself, who met God’s vengeance in our stead, who thus – stricken by the wrath of God – and in other way, could forgive his enemies, who himself suffered the wrath that his enemies might go free – we too as members of this Jesus Christ, can pray these psalms, through Jesus Christ, from the heart of Jesus Christ”

This doesn’t completely solve the problem but does provide a start. Also, the emotions and grief involved, enough to evoke such prayers are not anything I can claim to be privy to, nor do I ordinarily pray that I get to. It will be foolish to be zealous for persecution, though as Christians we are called to expect and prepare for it in various forms and degrees.
Perhaps the saints who cry out “how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on earth” give us another insight into a human appropriation of cries of the suffering Christ, so long as we are in Him. Even then, they (Martyred saints,) are told to “rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been” (Rev 6:11).

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