Habakkuk’s Prayers

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Habakkuk 1:1-17, Psalm 13:1-6, Acts 13:40-41

Scripture Reading: Habakkuk 1:1-17, Psalm 13:1-6, Acts 13:40-41

It wasn’t until I was in college studying grammar and literature that I realized something: the word “wait” is an action verb. Something is happening, something is in motion—even when the word itself implies stasis. To wait on someone means to serve them by being actively present, even without words. In Habakkuk 1, waiting abounds. The people of God are waiting for an answer, and God is waiting until the time is right. Neither wait is wrong, still, or without action.

Habakkuk says the law is “paralyzed, and justice never goes forth” (1:4, ESV). To God’s people, it feels as though they are stuck in the perpetual motion of law-keeping, not seeing any hope of the future God has promised them. They stand, waiting and begging, imploring the God of the universe to hear and answer and save.

God is also waiting, and His waiting is perfect within His predetermined time. He is not being pushed to any limit, and He is not worried about being too early or too late. He is present, even though He may appear silent. And His waiting is good, even though it may feel punitive to His people.

I’m sure you’re waiting for something today. Just in the time I’ve written these last three paragraphs, three different individuals I know walked up to me here, at the coffee shop where I’m working. Each lamented different things they have begged God to see and act on, yet they feel He has remained silent toward their suffering.

I am waiting for things, too. We are all waiting for something, and it can be very tempting to believe we are the only ones waiting. We can feel paralyzed in the waiting, left feeling that God is either ignorant of our pleas or intentionally avoiding an answer for us. But wait is a verb, and it is not one without action. God is at work in your waiting, and you are at work in it, too. Cry out to Him like Habakkuk, asking:

“How long, LORD, must I call for help
and you do not listen
or cry out to you about violence
and you do not save?” (v.2).

Do not be afraid to bring Him your questions and emotion. God can handle your fear. He is rock solid and unchanging, but He is also acting, right now, on behalf of His children.


Lore Ferguson Wilbert is a writer, thinker, and learner. She blogs at Sayable, and tweets and instagrams at @lorewilbert. She has a husband named Nate, a puppy named Harper Nelle, and too many books to read in one lifetime.

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128 thoughts on "Habakkuk’s Prayers"

  1. Natalie Foudray says:

    I’m just catching up on this reading. Today really made me stop and think. It spoke to me. I’m really struggling in my marriage, coming close to calling it quits. I feel like I have been praying for a love, a passion, a desire to continue for so long. It’s literally been years of prayers. I’ve recently felt like maybe God doesn’t hear me. Maybe He doesn’t care. I’ve been lost and unsure of what to do. Everything in me wants to quit and run….”How long must I wait Lord?”

    1. Valerie Haberkorn says:

      Don’t give up! The Lord IS near to all who call on Him. He sees your broken heart and wants to help you heal. Trust in His goodness and in His faithfulness.

      As for marriage – my husband and I have been marriage almost 14 years, but 5 years ago we almost called it quits as well. It was HARD to fight to not give up. One big thing that helped was to change my perspective – asking myself – how can I serve my husband today? How can I love him more like Christ today?

      I will be praying for you. Trust that the Lord is near. I pray you see a breakthrough soon.

    2. Monique Cloete says:

      In my journey I have realised that when I felt that way, it was time to get even closer to God and ask Him to change my heart, to change the way I see my husband, to see Him through His eyes.. Through months of prayer, having faith, and making the choice to love my husband even when my feelings are not catching up, things changes. He has definitely changed, but it is me who has changed the most… Show grace…have faith, don’t expect him to be perfect..and choose to love him in his imperfectness..

    3. Debbie Dodge says:

      Hello Natalie I went through the same thing in 2010 my husband asked for a Divorce while I was out of state taking care of my dying mom I was gone for almost a year I didn’t understand I was angry I was hurt so I started seeing a Christian counselor she helped me take care of me and work on myself by helping me to stay focused on Godand not on my problems I became the woman I once was. I had put other people before my husband and he had been hurt. the more I worked on myself the better our relationship became our relationship is better than ever and I’m still seeing a Christian counselor occasionally to help me keep God as my center

    4. Jill Ravensborg says:

      I’ve been challenged by my small group- from my church- to literally pray scripture. Example, I pray that ____ may comprehend what is the breadth & length & depth of the love of Christ and be filled with the all fullness of God.

  2. Allison Segal says:

    My husband and I are going through a tough time. His pornography addiction was recently exposed and my hearth is completely raw. I have some many insecurities flooding my mind on a daily basis, and I just want to be out of this perpetual wheel of pain and heartache. I know God has a purpose for everything, but I can’t help but wonder why it had to be such a painful journey.

    1. J V says:

      Allison, I have been where you are. Praying for you that your husband can humble his heart and repent.

  3. Krystal Pezzulo says:

    I have never stopped to consider that “wait” is a verb. It truly changes how I feel about waiting on the Lord and His timing for the better.

  4. Ana Lisa Johnson says:

    Wow, so good!

  5. Karen says:

    I like that waiting does not mean lack of action. During seasons of waiting, I can draw closer to God, study his word, and learn patience through the process of waiting. God’s timing is always perfect!

  6. Lo says:

    I never thought about waiting this way, but it’s true. Waiting has action and I’m so thankful to have read this today.

  7. Meredith Wittrock says:

    “Wait is an action verb. Something is happening, something is in motion…” I love this! A good reminder for me!

  8. Heather PrayMinnoch says:

    Wow. This is so timely. I have been waiting, getting frustrated about a certain situation in my life and wondering if God is listening. I’m thankful for this reminder that God IS present and there is learning in the waiting, and that waiting is active. I’m so ready for an answer but I will wait upon the Lord.