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Praying Our Hate

As we pray our hurt and even our hate, Jesus can free us to love our enemies.

The story behind the sermon (from Darrell Johnson)

This sermon was the second in a series for the summer on "Praying the Psalms in the City." I preached it as the second in the series, because in my experience helping people actually pray the Psalms, I notice that they often get tripped up by the "hate psalms." I wanted to remove that barrier as soon as possible. I also felt we needed to deal with such praying, because as a pastor I encounter many people who desire holiness but don't feel free to be open about praying their hatred. I also chose this theme because our city was still processing our response to the riots on the last night of the Stanley Cup hockey finals.


"Most of Scripture speaks to us … the Psalms speak for us." That is how the leading theologian of the 3rd century, Athanasius of Alexandria, expressed the blessing the Psalms are for the people of God. Most of Scripture speaks to us about the Living God, but the Psalms speak for us to the Living God. They give us the words and images with which to express the movements of our hearts before the Redeemer of our hearts.

The psalm we will pray today initially grates at our civilized sensibilities. As we read it this morning, many of its phrases will offend us. But this psalm, and others like it, model just the kind of praying many in our city need to be freed to pray.

Let me read Psalm 109.

1 O God, whom I praise, do not remain silent, 2 for wicked and deceitful men have opened their mouths against me; they have spoken against me with lying tongues. 3 With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause. 4 In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer. 5 They repay me evil for good, and hatred ...

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Darrell Johnson has been preaching Jesus Christ and his gospel for over 50 years. He has served a number of Presbyterian congregations in California, Union Church of Manila in the Philippines, and the historic First Baptist Church in the heart of Vancouver, Canada. He has taught preaching for Fuller Theological Seminary, Carey Theological College in Vancouver, and Regent College in Vancouver.

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Sermon Outline:


I. The problem with the "hate Psalms"

II. Bring it all to God

III. Express it all to God

IV. God can handle it all

V. Help to love our enemies