It might be hard to believe or receive, but one could make the case that prayer is the most effective gift given to humanity to bring about change. Some would rather attribute change to talent, charisma, and strong work ethic, but more often than not, it is the prayers of those in right standing with God, coupled with obedience to what is shared in the time of intimate conversation (prayer) that make lasting and loving change.
Yet the world is changing. Public opinion over all sorts of issues and sins are sliding. Loud voices are clamoring, some for true justice, some so steeped in darkness that they are completely blinded to right and wrong. Things also seemed to change without prayer.
Yet prayer serves to keep us aligned with the heart of God on what is right and what is wrong.
And here in Habakkuk chapter 2, Habakkuk volunteers his services to stand as a watchman. He volunteers to see injustice, pray and wait:
I will climb up to my watchtowerHabakkuk 2:1
and stand at my guardpost.
There I will wait to see what the Lord says
and how he will answer my complaint.
And summarized in the rest of Habakkuk 2, this is what the Lord says regarding what Habakkuk sees.
Woe 1: to the one who collects what does not belong to him (predatory loans, stealing, drug dealing, tax shelters, money laundering)
Woe 2: to the one who dishonestly gains wealth (slavery, exploitation, harsh labor)
Woe 3: to the one who builds a city with bloodshed and founds a town with injustice (pillaging, hurting your neighbor)
Woe 4: to the one who drugs another for lust and sex (porn industry, sex trafficking, rape, sexual assault)
Woe 5: to the one who trusts in idols (nationalism, the proud and selfish)
All of the consequences coming to those who participate in injustice without repentance will contain destruction.
Lest He be accused, these consequences are no darker than the acts that precipitated them. In fact the consequences are lighter. God bringing low things that were built upon another’s suffering are meant to be brought down, and God Himself patiently waits for those to turn from their wickedness in order to potentially make restitution.
Restitution, a word that should become synonomous with Christianity. It perhaps is what is required of us in order to be genuinely repentant. It is what might be spoken to our heart and soul when we listen, after we ask for forgiveness. But is often neglected in order to maintain what has made us comfortable or so one might keep what they stole.
As Christians we need to move further in maturity, to not only be absolved of our guilt and sin and shame but move on to restoring that which was never ours to have.
And to be more than okay with any potential inconvenience.
To say it another way if I can quote Blink 182, after the watching, the waiting and the commiserating comes partnership with God in restoration.