A Prophet’s Prayers of Protest and Praise

Habakkuk prayed. His book of prophecy in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible begins and ends with prayer. Impending catastrophic world events threatened to shatter both his worldview and his concept of God; Habakkuk prayed prayers of protest and lament. He asked God to listen. He challenged God’s inaction and apparent tolerance of injustice. He mourned the victory of the wicked.
God shocks the prophet with the answer to his first prayer. Aghast that God would use an even more corrupt and evil nation to punish Israel, Habakkuk prays another prayer of protest, one that argues from God’s own character and values: “God’s eyes are too pure to look on evil; he cannot tolerate wrong (Hab. 2:13 NIV84). Why then does he allow Babylon, the evil empire of the time, to destroy nations better than itself?
Theodicy is at the heart of Habakkuk’s prayers. He wants to understand how God can tolerate evil. God answers by explaining how he will punish Babylon after its purpose in his plan is complete.
Habakkuk concludes with a prayer of praise. As is the case in many biblical prayers, he remembers God’s mighty deeds in the past and calls on God also to remember, to once more act with mercy. Despite apparent impending doom, he will wait patiently for God. consistent Savior throughout history, to act again.
Evil and injustice shock us also. We ask how God can allow evil to triumph. Like Habakkuk, we pray prayers of lament and protest. However, also like Habakkuk, we remember how God, a God of justice and mercy, already has acted.


About Michael Summers

Michael Waymon Summers has preached in twenty-seven of the United States as well as seven other countries. He currently preaches for a Church of Christ in Leavenworth, Kansas. Michael earned a Master of Theology degree. He also has done graduate work in international studies. Michael likes to run, loves to sing, and reads voraciously.
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3 Responses to A Prophet’s Prayers of Protest and Praise

  1. joedalio says:

    Sound like many of prayers today. I am thankful for stories like this to remind us of God’s ultimate good and justice. Thank you for sharing this one : )

  2. Pingback: Trusting God’s Invisible Work | Quality of Life Ministries

  3. Pingback: Habakkuk 1 – How Long, O’ Lord? « vineoflife.net

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