A prayer of the prophet Habakkuk according to Shigionoth.
The Prophet’s Prayer
2 O Lord, I have heard of your renown,
and I stand in awe, O Lord, of your work.
In our own time revive it;
in our own time make it known;
in wrath may you remember mercy.
3 God came from Teman,
the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah
His glory covered the heavens,
and the earth was full of his praise.
4 The brightness was like the sun;
rays came forth from his hand,
where his power lay hidden.
5 Before him went pestilence,
and plague followed close behind.
6 He stopped and shook the earth;
he looked and made the nations tremble.
The eternal mountains were shattered;
along his ancient pathways
the everlasting hills sank low.
7 I saw the tents of Cushan under affliction;
the tent-curtains of the land of Midian trembled.
8 Was your wrath against the rivers, O Lord?
Or your anger against the rivers,
or your rage against the sea,
when you drove your horses,
your chariots to victory?
9 You brandished your naked bow,
sated were the arrows at your command. Selah
You split the earth with rivers.
10 The mountains saw you, and writhed;
a torrent of water swept by;
the deep gave forth its voice.
The sun raised high its hands;
A contemporary of Jeremiah, Habakkuk lived toward the end of Josiah's reign (640-609 BC). Habakkuk prophesied about the coming Babylonian invasion (1:6), yet his writings were not entirely doom and gloom.
There's hope in the form of Habakkuk's petition, starting with verse 2 above. Habakkuk remembers God's mighty acts of old. Remembering God's mighty acts of salvation and deliverance was an integral part of Judah's worship and prayer before the Lord.
For example, Psalm 44:1:
We have heard with our ears, O God,
our ancestors have told us,
what deeds you performed in their days,
in the days of old.
things that we have heard and known,
that our ancestors have told us.
The straightforward rationale for remembering the mighty acts of God in petition is
to say to God in essence:
"We know you can do it again!"
"So please, do it again!"
The People of God under the Old Covenant prayed this way; the People of God under the
New Covenant also prayed this way.
And the People of God throughout different lands and times likewise called out to God to touch
lives and places as in the days of old.
If the Lord, out of mercy, forgave a sinful city or a rebellious nation or a compromised church --
if He had been so moved out of compassion -- then the hope is that God can be moved again
and act on behalf of such undeserving people. That is the grounding for petitionary prayer for revival.
Prayers for revival are rooted in God's character and actions, especially those actions in the past that unmistakably altered the course of cities and nations.
Thus, we stand before God on a familiar stage, historically speaking. We stand before Him and say to Him, "Do it again, O God! Out of your mercy, pour out your Spirit upon this place and radically transform lives which are lost, broken, and in great need of your salvation!"
Let us pray this prayer in 2016!