Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Hannah continued...
Since we’ve already discussed Hannah’s attitude while she prayed, I want to take some time and see what, if anything, we can glean from her actual prayer.
The first thing we notice when meditating upon Hannah’s prayer is its specificity. Hannah was specific in her request to God. She wanted a male child, and it was a male child she asked God for. As she prayed she did not begin to address all the reasons why her prayer wouldn’t, or couldn’t be answered. She didn’t say, ‘if it doesn’t happen I understand, I’m barren, and that’s a big hurtle to jump over,’ only that if God willed it, it would be thus.
There was faith in Hannah’s prayer, not so much that what she was asking for would be given to her, but in God’s ability to do what she was asking Him to do. She never, for an instant, doubted God’s ability to make her fertile, or give her a male child. She did however understand that in order for her petition to be answered, it had to be in accordance with God’s will.
Hannah prayed in faith, and God heard her prayer. Hannah likewise vowed to bring her son to the house of the Lord, and good to her word she did as she promised. It is in the house of the Lord that Hannah’s son remained, and she would come and bring him new clothes as he’d outgrow his old ones, but never once did she go before God and say, ‘I’ve lent him to you long enough, now it’s time for me to take him home.’
Hannah knew that her son being in the house of the Lord was the best possible place for him to be, even if it meant she would have to sacrifice in order for this to come to pass.
This son, this answered prayer of Hannah’s, grew up to be none other than Samuel the prophet of God, the man to whom God spoke audibly, and who became the spiritual leader of God’s people during a very turbulent time in their history.
We have high hopes for our children. We want to see them get good educations, good jobs, good spouses, succeed in life, and make a future for themselves, but what we ought to hope and pray for more than anything else – especially given the times we are living in – is that they remain in the house of the Lord, and close to Him.
Daniel 11:32, “Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.”
Do you want your son or daughter to succeed? Do you want your son or daughter to be strong and do great exploits? Then do your utmost to make certain they know their God. Bring them to the house of the Lord, commit them to Him, point them to the Christ, and stand in the gap on their behalf.
We live in a world full of distractions. We live in a world intent on building then reinforcing a wall between man and God, and if we are not watchful and vigilant, if we don’t prioritize our lives in such a way wherein we make time to teach our children to walk in the way of the Lord, then the war’s already lost and we might as well pack it all up and go about our business.
We must see our children for the gifts and blessings of God that they are, and be single minded in our desire to see what He has entrusted us with, grow up to serve and obey Him.
Is it an easy task? No, it is not an easy task, and it is growing more difficult with each passing day. It is however a worthwhile task, one in which there is great joy and fulfillment, as well as great reward.
Be specific in your prayers for your children, just as Hannah was specific in asking the Lord for a male child. Pray with specificity that their hearts will be tender toward Christ, that they will have abhorrence toward evil, that they will know and understand God, that they will feel His love, mercy, peace and joy, that they would walk in obedience.
There are times in life when it’s fine to generalize…praying for our children is not one of those times.
Long before I was called to ministry, before I started preaching, writing, and teaching God’s word, my mother used to tell me stories of how my grandfather would pray for me while I was still a toddler. I was a sickly child, (although you couldn’t tell it by looking at me now,) and though the doctors told my parents to prepare for the worst, my parents prayed for my healing until it came about. My mom used to say that while she and my father prayed for my general healing and wellbeing, my grandfather would pray that I would grow up big, and strong, and be a preacher of God’s word.
Although God answered my mother and father’s prayers in that I received my healing, He also answered my grandfather’s specific request in regards to me, wherein I grew up big, and strong, and have indeed become a preacher of God’s word.
Don’t be afraid to be specific when you come before God. Don’t be reticent in pouring your soul out to Him, and telling Him the desire of your heart. Trust and believe that He is able. Stand on His promises, and with sincerity petition Him for that with which you desire to further His kingdom and magnify His name.
Hannah’s journey began with a prayer made in faith. It continued with a vow to return unto God that which God would give, and due to her faith and faithfulness we have the shining example of what it means to be a man of God, in her son Samuel.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.