Wrestling with God (Part 5)
Let’s continue to look at Habakkuk’s prayers. Remember, the book is primarily a record of three prayers the prophet prayed and God’s response. Last time, we made a couple of observations about Habakkuk’s prayer life based on his first prayer. After that prayer, God answered it, but not in a way that Habakkuk was expecting. God described the judgment that he was going to mete out on them by way of the Babylonians. It should be noted that some translations of the Bible refer to the Chaldeans. They are the same people. This is a nation known for its fighting force and its violence. This was not going to be pretty. It was also not what Habbakuk was hoping for. His response to God’s answer was to pray about it. He seems more confused than ever. It seemed as if God was going to wipe His own people off the face of the earth. After Habakkuk prayed the second prayer, he hears back from God. This is where I want us to focus for a minute.
After the prophet prays, this is what we read:
I will climb up to my watchtower
and stand at my guardpost.
There I will wait to see what the Lord says
and how he will answer my complaint.
Then the Lord said to me,
“Write my answer plainly on tablets,
so that a runner can carry the correct message to others.
This vision is for a future time.
It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.
If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,
for it will surely take place.
It will not be delayed.
(Habakkuk 1:1-3, New Living Translation)
While I am sure there are a number of valuable lessons to learn from these verses, there are three practical things about prayer I want to emphasize:
- When you pray, put yourself in a place to hear from God and wait. Often, prayer is just one thing we do and check off the list. We ask God for things then we go on about our business. Sometimes we miss God’s answer in our busy-ness. Put yourself in a place to hear from God and wait. I don’t know what the place for you is. Sometimes it may be a physical place and sometimes it is an emotional or mental place.
- Write it down. When God got ready to answer Habakkuk, he told him to write it down. He wanted the prophet to be able to give the answer to others. Have you ever used a journal for your prayers? Write down what you ask God for then write down the answers. Use an old fashioned steno pad. You know, the kind with a line down the middle of the page. It will become evident how God is answering your prayers. Another use for writing prayers is to help you focus your prayers. When I get into a perfect environment for prayer (quiet, dim lights, no distractions), it also happens to be a good environment for a nap! Spend that time writing your prayers. It is a truly useful practice.
- The third thing I want to emphasize is that sometimes it takes a while, but the answer will come and God will keep His word. Remember that God knows what you need and He has promised to provide it. We want Him to provide it now; He provides it when the time is right for Him to get the maximum glory. God’s understanding of time is not the same as ours. We have to be patient and let Him put us on His timing.
Is there a time when you struggled with your prayer life? Have reminders like this been helpful to you? Are there other things about this passage you want to share with the rest of us? Go ahead and share!