PRAYER, PEACE AND PRAISE

“Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the tabernacle of the Lord. And she was in bitterness of soul and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. Then she made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head” (1Samuel 1:9-11)

Here you see the importance of perspective. At first glance it would appear that this is a kind of bargaining prayer of Hannah’s; that she is offering to give the boy back to the Lord only if the Lord will give him to her first, so she can enjoy him. It is possible to read this account that way. But, if we look closely at it, and we are led by the Holy Spirit, we see a different picture. Not of selfish bargaining but of mature faith. I am sure this is not the first time that Hannah has prayed at Shiloh for a child. In fact, she prayed for a child many times. All along she dreamed of having a son of her own, a little boy to love and cuddle, to teach him how to walk, to read stories to, to watch him grow to manhood, to become a strong, clean, fine young man, the pride of her life. Then her son will marry a good godly lady and give her many grandchildren. I do not blame her for dreaming like this. It is the natural dream of every woman. She wanted a son for herself. She prayed often, but her prayer was not answered. Why?

On this occasion, however, her prayer was different. Having worked through years of humiliation because of barrenness and having thought deeply about her life, she discovered, for the first time, something she had never known before. She realized that children are not just a gift to parents, but they belong, first of all, to the Lord!!! God is the Giver and the Receiver of our children. They are given to parents, loaned for a while, but the reason they are given is for the Lord to use. This should be the desire of every parent!

Thru pain, after so many years, Hannah had a deeper revelation of God’s Word: “The LORD has made all things for Himself… For in Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through Him and for Him” (Proverbs 16:4; Colossians 1:16). Hannah now saw God as the Center of her universe. Therefore, she changed the perspective of her prayer. She prayed that God would grant her to be the mother of a son who will be given to God, for His service and glory. She prayed not for her son, but for God’s son! Certainly, this account indicates that this little boy who was ultimately born (Samuel) was God’s man to meet the need of a nation. Samuel was not only Hannah’s dream, but God’s ‘dream’! Undoubtedly, God had taught Hannah deeply through these years of struggle with her barrenness. God brought Hannah closer to Himself. She became a woman of God even before she got pregnant. That day in Shiloh, in great distress, with intense earnestness and faith, she prays that God would have what He wanted, a man for His glory and for His purposes. She interceded for God! She also prayed that by His grace, He would let her be the instrument of that blessing. In a way, she prayed to be like Mary, who became the mother of God’s Son, our Lord. Glory!

Immediately we read of a remarkable change in Hannah’s heart and countenance, for the Bible says: “Eli answered: ‘Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of Him’. She said: ‘May your servant find favor in your eyes’. Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast” (1 Samuel 1:17, 18). God’s peace and power from on high descended on her, guarding, and preparing her body, and her spirit, for the coming miracle. Her face looked calm and glorious. The beauty of holiness applied the ‘makeover’. She slept with her husband and she conceived Samuel. Nine months later Samuel was born. His name means “Asked of God’. The boy was clearly a gift from the God who answers prayers, from the God of grace who creates all for His pleasure and glory! Apostle Paul commands the believers to reject all anxiety so that the same peace of God will come, preparing the way for the miracle that will end in praise! Anxiety is a sin. We must reject it especially because ‘the Lord Jesus is at hand’! He is so near that He hears even the whispers of your prayers. This is God’s Word: “The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:5-7). Hannah experienced this heavenly peace that protects the heart and prepares the way for the praise! This is the mystery of prayer that is available to us the believers. We must speak peace into our hearts when we are troubled by difficult circumstances. The peace is the sign that the miracle is on its way. This supernatural peace that passes all understanding will surely end in praise! Do you know anything about this peace?

Let us pray: “Dear Heavenly Father, I worship You! Thank You, Abba Father, for the peace that You give me as I yield to You in prayer, in total trust and complete submission. I present my body to You, as a living sacrifice. Do what You want with it. It belongs to You. I reject all anxiety from my heart! Holy Spirit fill me afresh! Thank You Father that You know all what I need, and You know when I need it. By faith, I now receive the answer to this my prayer! My desire is that You use me as Your instrument of peace, and for Your glory! In Jesus’ name I prayed! Amen!”

(In the picture, my husband, I and our grandson Oliver Sisan Oakes)

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