Bible, Ministry

Boldness in Prayer

May 11, 2020

In the midst of evil, suffering, anxiety, and death, where do you turn? Do you turn to God? Perhaps, more specifically, how do you turn to God? When life is overwhelming, when there is no light at the end of the tunnel, and sorrow crashes upon our soul, do you believe that God longs for you to come with honesty and transparency? Or do you believe that He wants a polished version of your anxious heart? 

In the 7th century B.C., a relatively unknown minor prophet named Habakkuk was in a similar season of discouragement. There was evil in the land of Judah, pollution of God’s temple, and he was lamenting the effects of sin in God’s promised land. But, as modern people often think, what can such an old book from such an unknown man teach us about the complexities of modern life? Quite a lot actually. You see, Habakkuk was so confident in God, that he prayed with audacity and boldness. Listen to the lament of Habakkuk:

Habakkuk 1:2–3, 12

            [2] O LORD, how long shall I cry for help,

                        and you will not hear?

            Or cry to you “Violence!”

                        and you will not save?

            [3] Why do you make me see iniquity,

                        and why do you idly look at wrong?

            Destruction and violence are before me;

                        strife and contention arise. (ESV)

            [12] Are you not from everlasting,

                        O LORD my God, my Holy One?

                        We shall not die.

Habakkuk cries out to God with boldness, levying accusations against God that he tolerates evil. It is as if Habakkuk is screaming at the heavens, “Don’t you see the evil in the land! Can’t you see the injustice! Do you not care? Why do you look at evil and do nothing?” There is the true Habakkuk—wrestling, fighting, struggling, lamenting. Habakkuk continues with a rhetorical question, which, if you remember, is not a request for information but serves as an accusation framed in a question, “Are you not from everlasting, O Lord my God? Are you not infinite? I thought you were supposed to be this great God! I thought you were supposed to be wise and infinite. I guess your not.” 

Amazingly, God does respond to Habakkuk throughout the letter, “Don’t worry, Habakkuk. I am doing something about the evil and injustice in the world. I’m bringing judgment, but more importantly, I’m bringing salvation.” In the shadows of the minor prophet lie penetrating images of light, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Even though life currently is filled with suffering and evil, remember that God’s ultimate goal for all things is restoration and redemption. 

One of the most beautiful things about the Bible is that is written for us, meaning that God has placed the laments of Habakkuk in the Bible for a reason: that we might learn to lament honestly with the prophet. In this season of Covid-19, will you accept the King’s invitation to lament and pray boldly and honestly? Will you come to him with your fear, discouragement, anxiety, anger, and complaining? God does not want your polished prayers but your genuine laments. 

Do you know why it is OK that you come to God with your honesty? Because His love for you is not dependent upon your piety but upon His faithfulness. God says to you, “I love you not for who you are but in spite of who are you.” God has made a covenant commitment to you; he is not leaving. Today, you can cry out with bold honesty, knowing that your Father stoops down on one knee and says, “I know, my child, what it feels like to be in a world full of lamenting. I’m here with you.” Will you go to him today?

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