I will have the great privilege of teaching on the book of Habakkuk in the near future. Some of my preliminary reading has inspired this prayer. Often we are hesitant to pray in this manner (known as lament or, in common vernacular, complaint). However, throughout Scripture, again and again, we find faithful servants of God question God with honest doubt.
Please pray with me.
Our transcendent God; our father who dwells in the heavens, enthroned high above all that we see with our eyes, we humbly approach you in prayer through our one and only mediator, Jesus.
We confess that you are indeed a great God. We acknowledge you are holy, pure, light, blameless, perfect, just, righteous, without wrongdoing, immovable and unchanging. Our declaration is that our holy God is also the sovereign, omniscient and omnipotent God. There is nothing which is outside of your sight, nor your power and control. We praise you for your character, and adore you in your beauty.
We are eternally grateful for your revelation of yourself, to us, as such a matchless God.
Yet…we struggle with the world we see around us. We are sickened by the perversity of people, enraged by the absence of justice and saddened by the pain many experience. There appears to be no distinction – your own people, the church, and those who do not confess you as God both suffer. In fact, it seems that often your people suffer more. We are shocked by the sin inflicted by Christians on fellow Christians, frustrated by the apparent neglect of the shepherds you have placed over us and distressed by the apparent lack of help.
This world and those in it persist in their evil and wickedness and yet the world continues as it feels like it always has.
How can this be so God? In light of your character, why do you overlook this injustice? When will you correct these wrongs? What must happen to your people before you act? Where will the next attack on Christians arise?
It is a mystery to us with our finite minds.
So, we plead – crying out with our minds, hearts and souls – that you act. Bring your judgement to bear on those who persecute, attack and injure your people. Remove the pressure and pain that Christians face. Give us comfort, strength and encouragement. Help us see you at work in this world!
Even so, we praise you our eternally righteous father. You have promised full salvation at the return of your Son, Jesus. You have promised peace, justice and comfort forever in a new heaven and earth after that return. More than that, you have repeatedly displayed yourself as a God who keeps those promises.
We ask that you would speed Jesus’ return, and until that day you would aid us to remain faithful in this dark, sinful and dangerous world.
We pray all of this because you are our father, through Jesus’ sacrificial death and in the Spirit who continues to sanctify us in and through this world.