Habakkuk the tower-climber

If you’ve not read circle-maker_front-sideMark Batterson’s The Circle Maker, you really should do that … this week.

Built around the legend of Honi the Circle Maker, Batterson’s message is simple. Whenever you get to the point where you’re so desperate for an answered prayer that you’ll do nothing until God answers your prayer, that’s when you’ll see your prayer answered.

Honi’s community needed rain. His neighbors begged him to pray for rain. As the story goes, Honi went to the center of his village, drew a circle around himself, and prayed for rain. “Lord of the Universe,” Honi prayed, “I swear before your great name that I will not move from this circle until you have shown mercy upon your children.”

The rain came.

As I read this book, I wanted only one thing. I wanted a biblical circle maker. I didn’t want to settle for a Jewish legend. The story of Honi may or may not be true. Couldn’t there be a circle maker in the pages of the Bible?

Habakkuk the prophet just satisfied my longing.

“I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guardpost,” come the first words of Habakkuk 2 (NLT). “There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how he will answer my complaint.”

There I will wait …

Was Habakkuk actually watching for an enemy … or was he simply locking down in a private place where he could pray in an uninterrupted, passionate way?

All I know is that Jesus was also an advocate of bold prayer.

Here’s how Luke recorded a story Jesus told:

One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’”

Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?” (Luke 18:1-8, NLT)

Bold praying? Jesus used some boxing language to describe how the woman came after the judge. The judge knew that if he didn’t do what the woman wanted, she was going to wear him down. The only other time that particular phrase is used in the New Testament, Paul is talking sports with one of his churches in sports-crazy Greece. “I am not just shadowboxing,” Paul writes. “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.”  (1 Corinthians 9:26-27)

Here’s the point. None of us can manipulate God. You can’t park yourself in a convenience store and announce to the world that you’re not leaving until God lets you win the lottery.

But couldn’t it be true that God might be waiting on you to get serious about prayer before He finally gives you what He already wants to provide.

Habakkuk climbed a tower and waited. Honi drew a circle and waited. Jesus told a story about a woman who would not give up, no matter what.

Find your tower. Draw your circle. Get into the ring with God.

The answer to your prayer could be one dramatic move away.