How is your prayer life? Are there things in your world that you have stopped praying for because you've grown weary of your situation? Did you ever really pray at all? I've spent a lot of time seeking God for direction lately, but as I read through 1 Samuel 1 and the story of our childless Hannah, I began to think of those things that I've been prayerless about of late.
It is only through pouring our hearts out to God continually that we can achieve that perfect peace in our lives. I know many of you remember the verse about obtaining the peace that passes all understanding now don't you? (Philippians 4:6-7) . In Isaiah 26:3, God's Word says that if we keep our minds fixed on Him, He will give us perfect peace. What better way to keep our minds focused on our Lord than by talking to Him in prayer and listening carefully through His response to us in His Word and in the situations of our daily lives so carefully crafted for His purpose.
Hannah knew God and completely understood that letting God take hold of her problems was the only way she could make it through her trying situation. She was married to a man, Elkanah, who also had another wife named Peninnah. We find Hannah in 1 Samuel 1 barren and tormented by Peninnah because of it. Because of the constant provocation by Peninnah and the reality of her situation, Hannah was depressed - crying and not eating (1 Sam 1:7). But Hannah knew the Lord and was faithful to Him. She went to the tabernacle in Shiloh while on an annual pilgrimage there with her husband and there fervently prayed and poured her heart out to God.
And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the LORD and wept in anguish. Then she made a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head. (1 Samuel 1:10-11)
Can anyone else sense the emotion in her voice? Have you ever prayed like that? Should you be praying like that for something in your life right now? These are the kind of prayers that break God's heart...that move Him to action. When a righteous man or woman of God fervently prays, God is moved to action (James 5:16), albeit in His time.
Hannah brought her problems to God and she received peace in the process. Take a look at the final verse of the chapter. It appears that Eli the priest had heard her prayer and sent her away with wishes that God would grant her request. I would consider his statement to her an intercessory prayer. Here was her response:
And she said, "Let your maidservant find favor in your sight." So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad. (1 Samuel 1:18)
She ate and her face was no longer sad. There is the proof that prayer can change our lives and our attitudes. I'm thankful that God consistently provides us proof of that in the examples throughout His word. As I mentioned before, what should you be praying for today? Take some time now to pour out your heart to Him because He cares so much for you. Won't you do that?