O God, this evening I rest in gratitude for all the goodness you have given me this day. As this day closes, my thoughts turn again to you. Take me as I am today and this evening, and hold me in your love. I surrender this day fully to you. Give me the rest I need as I turn myself over to you for healing and restoration. In Christ’s name. Amen.
Daily Archives: January 12, 2021
Galatians 3:25-28 (ESV)
25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
1 Samuel 1:9-20 (ESV)
9 After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. 10 She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly.11 And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”
12 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. 14 And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.” 15 But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” 17 Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.” 18 And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
19 They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lordremembered her. 20 And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked for him from the Lord.”
“…but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life” (1 Samuel 1:11)
How do you talk to God? In the Scripture lesson for today, we hear how Hannah prays. For years she has borne the sadness of infertility, along with the stigma that other people have attached to her condition. Now she has had enough, and with honesty and desperation, she asks God for a child. She is willing to do anything, including return to God the very son she is asking for, if only God will show mercy.
What a model Hannah offers us! She comes to God earnestly, in the midst of her troubles. She doesn’t try to make herself look good, and she doesn’t hide her true feelings. She arrives empty-handed and upset, so much so that she appears to be babbling drunkenly. But that doesn’t matter. All she knows is that she wants God to hear her.
And he does exactly that. He showers her with blessings. Not only does he give her a son, but he destines this son – Samuel – to be one of Israel’s most powerful prophets. And to top it off, he blesses Hannah with many more children!
In the face of seemingly unanswered prayers, it’s tempting to move away from God instead of towards him. It’s tempting to give up on him and remain locked in sorrow and frustration. But God does work when we pray. Our prayers may feel inadequate, and our faith may seem too small. But our Father sees to it that no prayer goes unnoticed. No act of faith or trust – however small – goes unnoticed by God. He doesn’t need us to be perfect before we come to him. What good would that do anyway? We would have no needs to bring to him!
This is one of the greatest blessings of prayer: You can come to the Lord no matter who you are, if you come with an earnest heart. He welcomes you with open arms, even when you don’t think he is listening. He hears what is upsetting you, and he loves to offer you his help and his grace. Hannah herself would testify that it’s not always easy to come to the Lord like this. But this story tells us that God honors the earnest heart seeking him.