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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Prayer, Hope, and Answers!


At certain times in our lives, we encounter situations that require us to lift up deep cries, wails, and prayers to our heavenly Father. These prayers may involve our health, our family, our loneliness, or a multitude of other circumstances. Let’s take a look at Hannah’s prayer and discover how Hannah felt and how the Lord chose to answer her prayer. Keep in mind that God always sees the big picture for YOUR life, and God’s answers are always designed especially for you or whomever you are praying for.
In 1 Samuel 1-2, we read that Hannah was married to Elkanah. Elkanah was a Godly man who loved Hannah very much; but the Lord had not blessed their union with any children. Peninnah, also Elkanah’s wife had children. Peninnah continually provoked Hannah because of her childlessness to the point she wept and would not eat.  Hannah was embarrassed and grieved with this harsh treatment. Have you ever been at the point, like Hannah, where you have experienced embarrassment, grief, and/or distress? If so, let’s look at the process that Hannah experienced and see if you find any similarities in your life.

1.       God loved Hannah. 1 Samuel 1:5

2.       Hannah had no children. 1 Samuel 1:5

3.       Hannah was embarrassed and grieved. 1 Samuel 1:6
4.       Hannah was provoked, so she wept and did not eat. 1 Samuel 1:6
5.       Her husband loved her. 1 Samuel 1:8
6.       Hannah was distressed. 1 Samuel 1:10
7.       Hannah prayed to the Lord as she wept bitterly. 1 Samuel 1:10
8.       Hannah vowed her unborn child to the Lord. 1 Samuel 1:11
9.       Hannah poured out her soul to Eli the priest. 1 Samuel 1:15
10.   Eli gave Hannah hope. 1 Samuel 1:17
11.   Hannah left with a good countenance and wasn’t sad anymore. 1 Samuel 1:18
12.   Hannah conceived and bore a son – Samuel. 1 Samuel 1:20
13.   Hannah gave her child to Eli as she vowed. 1 Samuel 1:24-28.
14.   Hannah rejoiced and glorified the Lord for his answer. 1 Samuel 2:1-2
How often do we find ourselves in one or more of the steps that Hannah found herself? When I read 1 Samuel 1, I became so impressed that Eli gave Hannah hope. And, it took that hope to get Hannah out of her funk. Proverbs 13:12a says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick. . .” It was hope that made Hannah’s countenance shine. She went away with hope. Through hope, her strength returned. She ate and left with a smile on her face (while still in the midst of her situation)!
When you are facing situations beyond your control, remember HOPE. Even Zophar, in Job 11:18, states, “And you shall be secure and feel confident because there is hope; yes, you shall search about you, and you shall take your rest in safety.”
If a friend or family member is in a distressful situation, give them hope. Tell them they can be secure in the Lord Jesus Christ by confessing their sins and trusting in Him. Pray for their perseverance to ease the sorrow they are facing during their difficult time.
In Luke 13, Jesus healed a woman who had been sick for 18 years. “She was bent over completely forward and utterly unable to straighten herself up or to look upward.” But she encountered Jesus and was “released from her infirmity . . . all the people rejoiced over all the glorious things that were done by Him.”
The complete verse in Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
Amen!!! Keep praying and your longing will be fulfilled in His way in due time.
“For this child I prayed; and the LORD, hath given me my petition which I asked of Him.”
1 Samuel 1:27

Patti Londa Greene, Author
Awaken Me: A Devotional Prayer Journal
(ISBN 978-1-4627-2578-6)

God, It's Me: 181 Days for Young Adults to Become Passionate about Prayer and Bible Study
(ISBN 978-1-4627-3821-2)