February 27th 2010

The Orchestra Of Prayer

8th of a series of studies from Habakkuk

“A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. On shigionoth.”

Habakkuk 3:1 (NIV UK)

Shigionoth? What is that?

Scholars debate the meaning of the word, but most agree that it is a musical term. Is it a kind of instrument or a note about rhythm? Some say it means “accompanied by the stringed instruments” like lyres, etc. My favourite out of all the ideas is that it refers to the full orchestra. In other words, every instrument in every section was to be involved in this prayer set to music. The woodwind, the percussion, the brass, the strings, all of them conducted by Habakkuk. Perhaps accompanied by the great choirs.

It is as if Habakkuk is putting all that he has into this faith-filled prayer. David wrote in the Psalms, “I will extol the Lord with all my heart” (111:1). All his heart, every fibre of his being, the secret corners of his soul, all of his life, everything.

I don’t know how your prayer life is but I know how mine is, and, sometimes, it is not as exemplary as it should be. Some moments of high excitement, others of struggle. Barely a flicker of a flame at times. No orchestra playing. Maybe a few violins to go with my self-pitying prayers of “woe is me”! But, every so often, as well as the downs and middle type prayers, there are moments when with God’s Spirit I take off and soar. The Lord “enables me to go on the heights” (Habakkuk 3:19). All of me is involved. The whole orchestra of my soul. Maybe that’s how it was for Habakkuk. On Shigionoth.

How is your prayer life? Give your all in prayer. Strike up the band. Let the orchestra play.


Our Father, Lord, stir up your Spirit within me that I may pray to you with my whole heart, mind, soul and spirit. Let all of me, like the whole orchestra, reach out in prayer to you. In Jesus’ name.


Study by James Henderson

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