What attitude do you assume when you pray? If you are anything like me, your attitude varies. Casual to intense. Pleading to joyful. Distracted to fully focused. But how often do we come to prayer in full confidence?
The prophet Habakkuk knew how to approach the throne of God with confidence. His confidence was not quite what we might expect, however.
I will stand on my guard post and station myself on the rampart;and I will keep watch to see what He will speak to me, and how I may reply when I am reproved. Habakkuk 2:1 (emphasis added)
Habakkuk’s confidence was two-fold.
He was confident that God would speak.
There was no doubt in his mind of this reality. He might not know when God would respond. Nor did he really know how God would respond. But, he did not say that he would watch to see if God spoke to him. He would watch to see what God spoke to him. He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God would speak, and he kept himself wide open that he could hear whatever it might be.
He was confident that he would be reproved.
This one astonishes me. He did not say, "if I am reproved." He said, "when I am reproved."
Habakkuk expected to be reproved, and he welcomed it. While he waited, he pondered his response. We see what God says in the rest of chapter two, and we read Habakkuk’s response in chapter three, including one of my favorite Scripture passages (Habakkuk 3:16-19). But right here, we see that Habakkuk just desired to hear the Lord, even knowing it meant reproof. I sense in his words almost a desire to be reproved in a manner that guaranteed growth and a greater closeness to his God.
I think Habakkuk offers us a beautiful template for an attitude of prayer. We may come with an extremely burdensome request list. It could be that our hearts are heavy with the need for repentance. We might be trembling with exuberant praise or simply hungering for a conversation with our Savior. Whatever the case, if we come knowing that God will speak and prepared for Him to reprove, challenge, and grow us, our time of prayer will be successful every single time.
I have no insane notion that this is an easy attitude with which to approach the throne. Confidence that He will speak means patience. It means waiting for His timing, not ours. It means a willingness to endure silence for a while. Confidence that He will reprove can be even worse. I know my failures. He knows them even better. The surgery of reproof is painful, and the thought of intentionally awaiting that reproof makes my heart pound. But, oh, how worthwhile it is to come out of this interaction with Christ in victory!
May we learn to stand before the throne as Habbakuk did. May we wait for the Lord with full confidence, every time.