"If only you would slay the wicked, O God! Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord, and abhor those who rise up against you?" (Psalm 139:19a,21 NIV)
If you've tuned in for our twice-a-month emphasis on mothering teenagers, you may be wondering if I'm suggesting you should pray this kind of prayer about or against your teens. Certainly not!
This portion of Psalm 139 is an example of an "imprecatory" prayer: basically, a prayer asking God to deal harshly with our enemies...along the lines of, "Do you see what they're doing, God? Have at 'em! Get 'em good!" (That's my personal interpretation, of course.)
We have to be careful, because only God has the right to judge. Righteous wrath belongs to Him alone, for He alone is fully righteous. But just as other parts of the Psalms show us that God invites the full range of our emotions, I believe imprecatory prayers like this one demonstrate that it is sometimes permissible to vent about wrongdoing when it is against God and those we love.
Our teens need to know we are ready and willing to do battle for their hearts, minds, and souls. As parents, when we feel like we're battling our teenagers, we need to remember that they are not the enemy. Evil and the father of lies are the real enemies, and it is against these that God gives us license and permission to lash out—and then to leave the rest to Him.