Light to Live By

"The unfolding of your words gives light ..." (Psalm 119:130a)

Category: Prayer (page 1 of 4)

Which is it?

Of late I have been memorizing and praying back to God the great prayer of Habakkuk 3:17-19. But during much of that time I’ve also had in my Bible a 3×5 card upon which I wrote, some time ago, the text of Genesis 32:26b. Recently, as I was praying back the former to God, I happened upon the card in my Bible. In an instant, seeing them side by side, I realized the contrast between the faith of Jacob and that of Habakkuk.

“I will not let you go unless you bless me.” (Genesis 32:26b). These are, of course, Jacob’s words while wrestling with “the angel” through the night. He says, “I’m not letting go of you, Lord, until you bless me.”

“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments” (Habakkuk 3:17-19). This is the prophet’s prayer of faith as he surrendered to God’s sovereignty over the nations and over his own life. This is Habakkuk saying, “I will not let you go even if you don’t bless me.”

See them side by side:

  • I will not let you go unless you bless me.
  • I will not let you go even if you don’t bless me.

So which one is it?

Or, is it both?

Yes, both.

For the blessing for which Jacob holds out is God’s own presence with him. And that of which Habakkuk will not let go, no matter his earthly state of blessedness, is the presence of God with him.

Bless me or bless me not, you, O Lord, are the one essential. You are the one thing I cannot live without. Amen.

Praying the Promises of God

When we pray back to God His own promises given us in the Bible, Spurgeon said, we are “holding God to his word.”

He further says, “My brother, if you have a divine promise, you need not plead it with an ‘if’ in it; you may plead with a certainty. If for the mercy which you are now asking, you have God’s solemnly pledged word, there will scarce be any room for the caution about submission to his will. You know his will: that will is the promise; plead it. Do not give him rest until he fulfil it. He meant to fulfil it, or else he would not have given it … when he speaks, he speaks because he means to act.” –C.H. Spurgeon (Order and Argument in Prayer, July 15, 1886)

Entering the Conversation

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  . . . Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died– more than that, who was raised– who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” (Romans 8:26-27, 34)

“Think about it. God the Holy Spirit knows the real, foundational cries of our hearts, and He is in an ongoing conversation with God the Father, carrying our hearts’ cries to Him. At the same time, God the Son, Jesus, is also in a conversation with the Father about us, interceding for us.

When I put these truths together, I realize that the Trinity–Father, Son, Holy Spirit–is in an ongoing conversation about me and every other believer. When I go to Him in prayer, I am accepting an invitation to enter into a conversation that they were already having on my behalf! (Duane C. Miller, Survivor, p.121, emphasis added)

Helps on Prayer

My book Praying Through is, through Jan. 31, being offered on the publisher’s website at a remarkable discount–just $7.00 a copy (that’s 50% off retail). Hope you’ll consider getting a copy, reading it and then passing it on to someone else who might be helped by it.

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