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July 22, 2019

Prophetic Wisdom: Work it Out in Prayer

How long, O Lord, will I call for help, And You will not hear? I cry out to You, ‘Violence!’ Yet You do not save.” Habakkuk 1:2

It can be disheartening when God seems to be silent about the problems surrounding us. It’s hard to know what we should do. Well, the prophet Habakkuk illustrates how to work it out in prayer.

After Judah was captured by the Babylonian Empire, they began to adapt to the culture of their captors. God’s prophet was deeply burdened by the idolatry and physical indulgences of God’s people. So, what does a prophet do when he doesn’t know what to do? Habakkuk cried out to God!

First, Habakkuk was completely honest with the Lord. Of course, God already knew how bad things were. Still, Habakkuk questioned why God hadn’t imposed His justice. Everywhere he looked, God’s prophet saw iniquity, wickedness, strife, and contention. Habakkuk was frustrated that “…justice comes out perverted” (v4). Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Then, Habakkuk was reminded that God hadn’t vacated His throne or lost control. “But the Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him” (2:20). In times of chaos, we need to focus on what we know to be true about God and His character. Because He is holy and righteous, the Lord’s silence should never be confused with inactivity or passivity.

With his focus renewed, Habakkuk began praying for revival. “O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy.” (3:2). Habakkuk knew that God’s character could not overlook Israel’s sin. But the Lord also loved them unconditionally. God would rather revive His people than remove them in anger. And God still desires revival among believers today.  

Finally, God’s prophet overwhelmed his problems with praise! “Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength…” (3:18–19a). Habakkuk ends his conversation with God on a completely different note than where he started. Yet, nothing in his situation changed. His focus, however, was now on his God rather than on his problems.

By working it out in prayer, Habakkuk not only remembered important things about the God he served; he refocused on what he needed to do. So, before being overwhelmed with, “Woe is me,” why not work it out in prayer? Be honest with the Lord. Determine to trust God’s character, even when you cannot hear His voice. Diligently pray for personal and corporate revival. And remember, nothing grabs the attention of God like praise from a humble and hungry heart.