The kingdom of darkness fills the stands and cheers on the false teacher in his or her schemes. This undoubtedly stirs up righteous anger in the true Christian and most certainly the men of God who are charged with the task of preaching truth and refuting error. In the Psalms, this would fall under the category of “imprecatory prayer” as the righteous pray that the enemies of God would be destroyed and stopped in their treacherous tracks. Keep in mind, these are not prayers against those whom you are offended by amid a secondary doctrinal issue or even a personal conflict. These are specific to the enemies of God and His truth.
A number of church members have lamented, “Pastor, I see the way false teachers assault the church and the way they undermine the truth. Should I be praying for them, or against them? If I feel righteous anger, how should that be applied in my prayer life? How should I be praying for false teachers? Should I pray for them at all?”
Important questions deserve biblical answers. Here are several truths that can help you navigate this topic:
1: Pray that false teachers would be granted repentance and come to true saving faith.
When Paul instructs Timothy concerning false teachers in 2 Timothy 2:24-26, he cautions against a quarrelsome and unkind attitude saying,
This does not at all condone dumbing down the truth, but we see that Paul would be an advocate for not only what Timothy says, but how he says it. By way of application, perhaps one of the best ways to resist a quarrelsome and hard-hearted attitude towards opponents of the truth is to pray for their salvation and that “they will come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil” (v.26).
So should you be praying for false teachers to repent, while maintaining a soft heart regarding the peril of their soul? I believe the Scriptures support that. Resist bitterness, speak the truth objectively, and be faithful to warn God’s precious flock concerning dangerous deceivers. It is love that compels us to care for saints and call out wolves (2 Timothy 1:3-7).
2: Pray that God would demolish their demonic ministries.
This may seem like whiplash from the last point, but stick with me! Notice I am not advocating for God demolishing “them,” but rather, their demonic ministries. Think of a wrecking ball taking out large swaths of a structure until it can no longer stand with strength — that is what we are allowed to pray for, biblically speaking. You might think, how can you dare to pray against someone’s ministry with such harsh terminology?