She, greatly distressed, prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. 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 son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.”
I must admit, there are few things that inspire me more than stories of saints who have cried out desperately in prayer. There is a crisis in their life which they are at a loss in how to appease it, which drives them to their knees. One such incident in my life in the early 1990s when I volunteered in a Christian Bookshop, I suddenly found myself struggling to cope with life – I was burnt out. I prayed about it for some days fearing I was losing grip of reality, then God stepped in. I received an anonymous gift of money with the simple message: “The Lord put this on my heart, God bless you.” This gift made it possible for me to book a weeks retreat to Marygate House on the Holy Island in Northumbria. It was a blessed time of renewal in many ways, which enabled me to return to my voluntary work with renewed joy in my heart and witness.
Our verses today are taken from the life of Hannah in the Old Testament, it is a story that is dear to my heart which I can relate to. She was the wife of Elkanah, but was unable to bear any children. This was a source of great distress to Hannah, made worse by the cruelty of Elkanah’s other wife Peninnah, who could bear children. Hannah had her problems. Thus we come to today’s Scripture and Hannah pleading prayer before God in the temple. Rather than wallowing in her situation Hannah offered her prayers. In her prayers she laid her heart and anguish before God, and Hannah made a promise to God. Hannah had been fasting and upset, after her petitions she ate and looked well because Hannah believed God. In the realms of Heaven the Almighty heard and answered her prayer, giving her a son, Samuel. Hannah kept her promise giving her only son to God and into temple service. The significance of Hannah giving up her only son, which God did centuries later at Calvary, is not to be missed. With that in mind it is no surprise that God rewarded Hannah by giving her three more boys and two girls after Samuel.
Dear reader, be encouraged by Hannah’s story and example of praying in a crisis. The God of Hannah is still God today, as I can confirm by my own testimony – He still hears and answers prayers of His children. Bring your urgent needs to His throne of Grace, and leave them there with Him – He will answer you in His perfect time.