One of my favorite verses on prayer is a real challenge to me to persist in my praying. Habakkuk 2:1 calls us to a commitment to pray until something happens. “I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.”
The prophet Habbakuk’s situation was clearly wrapped up in prayer. In the first chapter he was bringing to the Lord the crisis facing the nation. The Lord’s response was confusing and unexpected. Habbakuk didn’t quit. He kept praying, and here in the beginning of the second chapter declares his intention of continuing to pray. But this was not a situation where someone decides to keep praying until God gives them want they want. Not at all! As a matter of fact, what Habbakuk was hearing was not what he wanted.
His commitment to persistent prayer was not about his own desires, but God’s purposes. He could easily have said, “I don’t like what I’m hearing from God, so I quit.” But this was a man of prayer who understood the critical need of standing on the (spiritual) wall of his nation and crying out until the purposes of God were revealed.
This short prophetic book gives a hard answer to Habbakuk’s prayer. Invasion was coming. Tough times were about to hit the people of God. But the prophet also saw a vision of God overcoming evil. He saw a time when, “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea”(2:14).
It is time for that sort of persistence in prayer for the people of God today. We face times of crisis. Who is crying out for the purposes of God to be revealed in our day? Who will stand at their watch and pray? Not the kind of prayer that tries to talk God into giving us what we want, but lining our prayers up with the desires of God. I invite you to join me in praying one of Habakkuk’s prayers: “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy” (3:2).