A praying woman,
(1 Samuel 1,1-2,10)
We have just recently celebrated and prayed together on the Day of Prayer. Ever since then it is important for me, what it means to pray really. Not only a day in a year, but living a deep prayer life all the year. Paying attention to Hannah’s life, God might correct our prayer life in this advent period.
Hannah’s family and social situation was a stable one. Her husband, Elkanah honoured the Lord of hosts. They went to Siloah every year to pray and bring sacrifice to the Lord. When he brought offerings, Elkanah always gave gifts to his wives, Hannah and Penninah, and Penninah’s children. He gave Hannah a double portion, because he loved her very much. Yet she had a deep sorrow, because she did not have children, for God closed her womb. Her rival always angered her to drive her mad. That was repeated every year, whenever they went to the temple, she always cried and did not eat anything. The comforting words of her husband were not worth much to her.
There might be women even today who in spite of their good social material, or even familiar situation have a burden in their hearts. They might not be able to share it even with their best friends. What can we do? What did Hannah do? She did not speak back to Penninah. She did not even curse her husband.
Once, after they ate and drank, Hannah got up, disappeared silently from the family members, and went to speak with the One who knows all the situations, who is the only One who can really help.
She prayed to the Lord being deeply sad to the bottom of her heart, and wept. It was not unimportant for her whether she would have children. Then she vowed something.
I can only pray for someone if his situation is important for me. We can only intercede for the lost ones, if their destiny is painful for us, just as her childlessness was for Hannah. I know an elderly believing lady, who prayed for more than 20 years for her grandchild. Day by day she prayed for his repentance and salvation, mostly crying. The grandchild attended church but did not take God’s word seriously, he lived a double life in the church and in the world being unhappy. Once I heard this lady praying crying: Lord if I died and did not see Thomas repent, please help him repent at least at my coffin, to accept you and not perish. After a few months this young man repented confessed his sins and was born again. After being counselled by the pastor and repenting he first went to his grandparents to tell them what happened. His grandmother embraced him and shouted out joyfully. Blessed be the Lord! For her grandson was born again. I don’t know what problems you have.
Are all your relatives saved? We can learn from Hannah who poured out her heart before the Lord. Hannah prayed long. You need time for prayer, cannot just send a short message to God. Someone said at a women conference: I do not have time for silent time, but I am always praying. You cannot pray unceasingly without having a silent time, the answer came. Hannah was praying silently before the Lord, only her mouth was moving, but her heart was involved much also. God’s heart moved as well Hannah gave birth to a boy.
The High priest thought she was drunk. That is why he spoke to her. How long are you going to be drunken? This kind of attitude must have been hurting, yet she answered gently. True praying people are nowadays also judged sometimes like that, even by religious people, yet they stay silent because they know who they are praying to: The Lord of Hosts. Afterwards Hannah wanted to eat, and was not sad any more. Because she put her burden down to the feet of the Lord, and entrusted her problem to Him. Praying women might carry their burdens with optimism, because they know who they believe in, who they pray to.
God always answers prayers. The mother did not forget her vow. She fulfilled her promise, and we can read her beautiful thanksgiving song in chapter 2 verse 10. Praying women fulfil their promises to the Lord, and do not forget to give thanks.
I do not know for how long some of us have to go to the temple to pray for our sons, daughters or husbands, yet Hannah’s God still lives today, and is the same yesterday today and forever. Let us learn, practice it, and be thankful women as a consequence of whose prayers, Samuels, prophetical children are born to the joy of Hannah, to the glory of God and the benefit of our fellow-people.
Erzsebet Vekas, Romania