“And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish.” (1 Samuel 1:10)
Hannah’s prayer is a model of passion, persistence and answered petitions. Her story is one that proves God’s propensity to answer our deepest and most heartfelt requests. God desires to answer our prayers. When we make our petitions known, when we are passionate, when we persist and when we are specific, God will respond.
Prayer provokes God’s promises. Prayer prompts God’s peace. Prayer assures God’s protection. Prayer ushers in God’s unlimited provision. Prayer provides us with wisdom. Prayer heals and renews our hope. Prayer brings us the help we need. Prayer eliminates every enemy we face. Prayer assigns goodness and mercy to follow us all the days of our lives. Prayer acknowledges that God is God, and beside God sits no other.
Prayer also requires sacrifice. As you think about your deepest prayer requests, ask yourself the question: “What am I willing to sacrifice for God to answer my deepest prayers?”
First Samuel chapter one explores Hannah’s prayer. Hannah had a deeply personal prayer request. She was childless, a state seen in her day as either punishment from God or the lack of God’s favor. Hannah was ridiculed because of her barrenness. She anguished, prayed, wept and made a vow to God. If God would bless her with a son, Hannah vowed to dedicate her son to serving God in the temple. She would sacrifice what any parent, especially mothers, would embrace as their greatest gift from God — her child.
What can we learn from Hannah’s prayer? First, Hannah’s prayer was passionate. First Samuel 1:10 notes: “And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish.” Hannah was mocked by Elkanah’s other wife Penninah. Hannah was suffering and longed to conceive and birth a son. She cried tears of sorrow and anguish.
Sometimes our prayers lack passion. They are routine and without feeling. But there are times when our prayers should move us to literally anguish in our souls. We need God to move, and routine prayers won’t get the attention from God we need or desire.
Secondly, Hannah’s prayer was persistent. Year after year she traveled to the temple with her husband and family. Year after year she persisted in her prayer to God for a son.
Finally, Hannah’s prayer gained her petition. Eli watched Hannah as she prayed and perceived her to be drunk. Hannah spoke in her heart, “only her lips moved but her voice was not heard.” (1 Samuel 1:13) But she was not drunk, as she explained to the priest. She was praying from the very depths of her soul. Eli encouraged Hannah to “...go in peace…” and spoke favor over her life.
Hannah’s petition was granted by God. She conceived and gave birth to the prophet Samuel whom she dedicated back to God just as she had vowed. Samuel would grow up to become one of Israel’s greatest prophets and lead Israel through some of her most turbulent times.
Hannah’s prayer teaches us to pray with passion and to persist. And ultimately, to receive God’s favor regarding our deepest petitions, Hannah’s prayer teaches us to place our complete faith and trust in God.
What is your deepest petition to the Lord? Keep praying. God is listening. God desires to answer your deepest prayer. Don’t believe me? Just ask Hannah.
Dr. Preston T. Adams III is senior pastor at Amazing Grace Christian Church in Indianapolis. Contact Pastor Adams via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @DrPrestonTAdams. For more information, visit agccindy.org.