In this day of radical tolerance (except against those who refuse to tolerate indiscriminate toleration), most of us are likely to judge anyone who offers a curse-prayer. Yet they are part of the Biblical tradition of prayer. What can we learn from this one, and in our age, is a curse-prayer ever appropriate?
The last prayer in Genesis is one of the shortest in the Bible. Yet it brings a powerful message of faith. This short prayer has a surprising number of ways we can use it in our own prayer practice.
As the book of Ezra focused on rebuilding the Temple and learning to be faithful, so the book of Nehemiah focuses on rebuilding the walls of the city and learning to be faithful. These themes are also found in the prayers, and provide an excellent study for our own prayers when we seek renewal of our faith.
What is a prayer of confession? Often, such prayers are an admittance of guilt followed by a petition for forgiveness. But this prayer, by Ezra, is a pure prayer of confession—no requests, no excuses, no reasons. A difficult prayer to offer, but one of power.