Hannah’s prayer is completely unselfish. She doesn’t ask for a male child in order to remove her shame or to get back at Peninah. She asked God to give her a male child, so she could give him back to God for His glory. You see, If you want to experience God’s Favor when your circumstances look unfavorable, you’ve got to…
Pray with the Proper Priority
Mothers, you know that having children will keep you on your knees. Our children often shape our prayers. Every Wednesday night during our prayer meeting called “Midweek Lift”, among other things, the prayers that are the most frequent are the prayers for our children. As parents, we sometimes pray for our children to grow up and get an education or get a nice job. You know, be successful in life. But as you mature in the Lord, how many of you know that your prayers start to be focused more on them being saved in Christ and that their lives would be lived for the glory of God and building up of His Kingdom. The priority of your prayers begin to be that your children will be given over to the Lord.
Hannah is praying, but only her lips are moving. No sound is coming out of her mouth. Her prayer is rising up to God from her heart. Sometimes mothers, when you pray you can’t even get the words out. Sometimes you may not even know what to pray. But God hears in clear language, the groans which are rising from your heart. He is touched by the unselfish priority of her prayer.
Now as Hannah is pouring out her soul in prayer, all Eli can think to do is judge this poor woman. There were some during this time in Israel’s history, who would sometimes get drunk even during these sacred feasts, so Eli thought it within his right to rebuke this woman for what he perceived on the surface to be a drunk woman. This is why we need to be so careful in the church not to judge people based on what we see on the surface without first listening to their story. We can inflict painful wounds on those simply seeking a safe place to pour out their souls and be healed by Jesus. Hannah being the wife of a Levite could have clapped back at Eli about what was fast becoming well known in Israel, about his corrupt sons. She could have called him a hypocrite! She could have told him, “Instead of worrying about me, what you need to do is check your kids!” But that’s not the kind of woman Hannah was, even in her pain. She was a woman of God. She had class and grace.
Thank God, after Hannah explained her situation to Eli, he did what we need to do as a church when someone is in pain… listen. He listened to her story. Then he encouraged her to go in the peace of the Lord. As a representative of the Lord, he encouraged her by praying the Lord would grant her favor in her request. This is what we are called to do; encourage people to trust in the promises of God. Hannah was so encouraged that she rose up, ate some food and wasn’t sad any longer.
This is what can happen when you pray with the proper priority of the request bringing glory to God. Sometimes our prayers are all about us. But when our prayers are focused on bringing glory to God, which means the uplifting of His holy character of love, He will send someone to you through the Holy Spirit, to encourage you to trust His promises. Then you will have peace and hope in His favor.
Elkanah and Peninah have no idea what came over Hannah, but she returned a different woman, eating up a storm. Then we read this in verse 19…