Warmth in Giving

Read Habakkuk 3.

We see a great Old Testament example of persisting in prayer in the three chapters of the book of Habakkuk. Historical clues within the book of Habakkuk suggest that he lived during the reign of Israel’s King Jehoiakim, when the Babylonian Empire was on the rise but before the Babylonians came to lay siege to Jerusalem. The central theme of Habakkuk focuses on the prophet’s effort to grow from a place of doubt and impatience with God to a place of trust in Him, despite God’s apparent delay in answering prayer.

Three features of Habakkuk’s prayer in chapter 3 are particularly worth noting for our own prayer life:

1.      Habakkuk’s humility before God. The first feature of effective prayer is humility. In chapter one, Habakkuk seems to be lecturing the Lord: “How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?” (1:2). But by the end of Habakkuk, even in the midst of unanswered prayer, Habakkuk stands in awe of God’s mighty works.

2.      Habakkuk’s adoration of God. When you pray, ask God to teach you more about Himself because He is worthy of your adoration and obedience. That’s a prayer that will always be honored.

3.      Habakkuk’s focus on God’s work. Habakkuk prayed that God in His mercy would send a great awakening to Israel. The people of Israel didn’t deserve it; they deserved only the destruction that God had repeatedly warned them was coming. But Habakkuk desired that God would bring revival so that His name would be glorified.

In those times when our prayers seem to go unanswered, we might sink into depression, become angry with God, or give up praying altogether. In the prayer of Habakkuk, we see a very different response to unanswered prayer. We see him ask God, in effect, “What do You want me to learn from this? How can I learn to pray in greater alignment with Your will? Lord, teach me to trust You more.” Habakkuk takes the trial of unanswered prayer and turns it into an opportunity to grow in intimacy with God.

In the prayer of Habakkuk, we find a model of prayer that will protect us from the disillusionment and discouragement that so often accompany God’s delays in answering our prayers.

Prayer: Father, thank You for the example of tremendous faith found in Habakkuk. May I, too, set my heart on You, the God of grace, wisdom, and sovereign power. I trust in You, my Savior and my God; I believe Your promises and will wait on You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Habakkuk 3:17-18).

*This devotional adapted from Life-Changing Prayers by Michael Youssef © 2018. Published by Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission.

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon Life-Changing Prayers, Part 4: LISTEN NOW | WATCH NOW

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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