I know we all have things we want. A decent job, a beautiful house, a relationship. You get the gist. I know I spend countless nights on my knees just yapping away to God what seems to be endless list of “prayers” or should I say, “needs” I need him to fulfill. Today I was doing some bible time and 1 Samuel came across my path today. What is important about this story is the woman it’s based on. This woman, Hannah, was special because her prayers were God centered. She cried out to God for what she wanted that would glorify Him in the end run. Am I churning some hearts yet? Let’s jump right into this.
Hannah was married to a man named Elkanah, who was also married to another woman named Peninnah. (Polygamy became popular around this time, which was apart from God’s will for marriage; Genesis 2:24). They resided in Ramah, the first important landmark in the timeline leading to the coming of Jesus. Elkanah, Hannah, Peninnah, and her two sons traveled every year to pray and give sacrifices to the Tabernacle. Elkanah would portion his two Peninnah and her two sons, but gave a special portion to Hannah because he loved her so much. Here are three things to keep in mind about Hannah’s trials and how we can develop our character ourselves.
Overcome mockery: “But Peninnah made fun of Hannah because the Lord had closed her womb. Year after year it was the same-Peninnah would taunt Hannah as they went to the Tabernacle. Hannah would finally be reduced to tears and would not even eat.” 1 Samuel 1:6-7
I am sure, my beautiful friends, we all face disapproval throughout our daily lives. When you go to work and you do your very best, but yet there is that one person who always tries to make sure they feel better than you. Or you give your heart out to someone with endless love and kindness, yet they keep giving what you want to someone else instead, leaving you with that half empty feeling. What’s important to note here is that God already sees our potential. We don’t need to strive to be better with our spiritual talents. God does not want us clashing against each other, we should be linking ourselves together, since we are the body of Christ. This isn’t a race on who is better, this is a race to One who makes us better.
Pray for God, not to God: “Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord. And she made this vow: “O Lord Almighty, if you will look down upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, His hair will never be cut.” 1 Samuel 1:10-11.
What a prayer, right?! So selfless. I am so guilty of saying self centered prayers, and I actually demand God to always give me what I want! What kind of a relationship is that? Of course you want your kids to come to you when they need something, but if they only came you with their needs instead of actually spending quality time with you, where would that lead to? A dead end! Our prayers to God work the same way. We cannot just only to talk to God, we need to listen to Him. Ask him if what you’re praying will benefit Him not you. This flesh is ours to live in, but it is God’s to pursue in. Hannah has given all of her to God in that prayer and after being witnessed by the priest Eli, she longer clenched her pity. She rejoiced because of her faith in God.
Honor God in worship: “The entire family got up early the next morning and went to worship the Lord once more. Then they returned home to Ramah. When Elkanah slept with Hannah, the Lord remembered her request. And in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel (Hebrew term relation to “asked of God). And after Hannah has weaned her child, she took him to the Tabernacle of Shiloh. Hannah approached Eli and said, “Do you remember me? I am the woman who stood here several years ago praying to the Lord. I asked the Lord to give birth to this child and he has given me my request.” And they worshiped the Lord there. 1 Samuel 1:21-27
Hannah was obedient. She did have to wait for her son, but I can imagine she had to evaluate her heart and faith in God multiple times through the process. But, in due time God answered her, and she gave back to him. That is so important, friend! Our prayers our to honor God and his kingdom! Not ourselves! And after he answers us, we need to worship Him! And if you get another door in the face, still worship and have faith! There is another door! God promises that! Tonight if you feel like nothing is going right, the same request on your heart is just going numb, take time to cry. Take time to pray. Take time to worship. God hears you, friend. You are not alone! Have a faith that fights!