As a Christian, I have a vast number of responsibilities to the Lord, to my family, to the church, and to my community. One of those responsibilities is my prayer life. My prayer life should be a time of worship, repentance (for myself), and pleading for God to work to bring about a revival to my life and to His church and an awakening to those who are outside of Christ.
As our church begins a new sermon series out of the book of Habakkuk, we find the prophet opening the book by being broken and in despair as he prays for the nation of Judah. I believe many of the things that Habakkuk was experiencing is the same things that we are experiencing in our nation. I love the way that the “Christ-Centered Commentary” on Habakkuk describes the opening of the book. “The prophet Habakkuk is deeply disturbed by the spiritual and social state of affairs in the nation of Judah. He expresses his frustrations over witnessing human corruption and depravity throughout the Judahite society, and he appeals to God to do something about it.”
But as we look around our nation and see the moral depravity, we often focus on those not in the church or a part of the church. Because of that we are missing the mark of God’s call and command for the church (individuals and corporately) to be holy and righteous (look to 1 Peter 2). It is easy to point out the sin of others and forget to examine our own hearts. Habakkuk was not looking at pagan nations, but he was looking at the depravity of God’s chosen people. It was the people of God that were extorting, worshipping idols, and committing grave sins. The people of God had walked away from the Lord, and they had become an unholy and unrighteous people. Unfortunately, the same thing I believe has happened and is happening in the church in America. We have walked away from the Lord, and we are committing grave sin, including worshipping idols. Our idols look different than those of Habakkuk’s day, but they are still idols. And because of that the effectiveness of the church is not existent in many places. We see the decline of the church all across the nation and we see a decline in the commitment people have to Christ. Many who claim to be followers of Christ are more committed to jobs, political parties, sports, and much more than they are Christ. Those things have become our idols, and many have sacrificed at the altar of those idols. They have become slaves to that idol and to sin.
As, I read these words of Habakkuk, I have come to realize that my prayer needs to be much like his but with the clear understanding that God is listening, and God is working. “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. 4 So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted.” (Habakkuk 1:2-4). I want to see God restore His people and to bring about a movement of revival in His church, which will lead to an awakening across this nation. For that to happen though, God people have to repent and turn from our wicked ways and turn to the freedom that comes in Christ and Christ alone! Spiritually immature people need to become spiritually mature.