Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Hannah continued...
‘Lord, give me a male child that I might give him to You.’ This was the essence of Hannah’s prayer, and it was without doubt a beautiful desire. Why do we ask for what we ask? Why do we pray for what we pray? Is it to bring honor to God? Is it to further His kingdom? Or is it to fulfill our own selfish desires?
Hannah wanted a male child not so she might pamper him, or show him off, but so she might give Him to the Lord and in the service thereof. Her heart was pure as far as why she desired what she desired, and this is another reason God answered her prayer.
One of the things I find most disturbing in our modern church culture, is that we’ve taken greed and spiritualized it. We are told repeatedly, incessantly, and without respite that God wants us to be greedy, He wants us to want big houses and fancy cars and indoor, heated pools. Such messages play so well to the flesh, they connect so perfectly with our old nature that men who promulgate such aberrant doctrines are, in their own right, rich beyond their wildest imaginings.
Whether or not what we want brings glory to God has become a nonissue in today’s church. We’ve taken care of that particular thorn in our side by redefining the will of God, and telling all who would hear that His will is no more than your happiness, ease, and comfort there on earth.
‘God wants you to be happy!’ How many times have you heard that fallacy spouted from behind a pulpit?
God wants you to be happy in Him! God wants you to make Him happy…to be pleasing unto Him.
Yet, when we speak of these things, men’s immediate Pavlovian response is to bristle, and find some sort of reason why they think they ought to be happy, rich, and have everything they ever wanted in this present life.
Praying has as much to do with the intent of our prayer, as it does with the actual act thereof. If our hearts are not right before God, though our lips might say one thing, He sees the inner heart, and knows why we are petitioning Him for a certain thing.
Hannah’s heart was pure before God. Her desire was to return to the Lord that which He’d give her.
Another important lesson we can learn from Hannah’s prayer, is that once God answered it, she returned before Him with prayers of thanks.
Hannah returned to the place she has first prayed, the place where she poured her soul out to God, with the answer to her prayer in tow. She had given birth to a baby boy, named him Samuel, and had now come to give Him to the Lord as she had vowed.
1 Samuel 1:24-28, “Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bulls, one ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord in Shiloh. And the child was young. Then they slaughtered a bull, and brought the child to Eli. And she said, ‘O my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord.’ So they worshipped the Lord there.”
For anyone who thinks it was easy for Hannah to do what she did, imagine the single most burning desire of your heart being fulfilled, then taking the fulfillment of that desire and giving it away.
Hannah wanted nothing, more than she wanted a son. She had weaned him, cradled him, sung lullabies to him, and now she was giving him to the Lord.
Since she had been barren, and Samuel was her only offspring, Hannah could have readily justified breaking her vow, at least to herself. From not having anyone to look after her in her old age, to not being able to see her child growing up, Hannah could have excused not bringing Samuel to the Lord as she had promised, but she chose to keep her vow.
Keeping one’s vow is a choice!
God will not twist your arm into keeping your promises, nor is He a billing company sending you final notices for not paying your utilities bill. We either choose to be honorable servants keeping our vows and the promises we make, or dishonorable servants, who think we’ve put one over on God.
Perhaps Hannah had left an impression, and Eli remembered her. There is also the chance that Eli had no clue as to whom this woman was, but after reminding him of the time he’d mistaken her for a drunk woman, and confirming that God had answered her prayers, they worshipped the Lord together.
It is a joyous thing when God answers our prayers. It is something for which we ought to be grateful, and thankful, and something of which we ought to tell others about as well. True servants of God will rejoice with us, and worship with us when we speak of the great and mighty things God has done.
The bringing of Samuel to the house of the Lord was Hannah’s public confession as to what God had done on her behalf and the prayer He had answered. Even if Eli remembered Hannah, he could not know what she had been praying for, for she did not espouse upon it at the time of their first encounter.
Now, Hannah returned, to testify of the Lord’s goodness, and confirm to one and all that God had not only heard her prayer, but answered it.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.