God’s pouring out his grace, my friend, did you bring your cup?
We saw Hannah bring her hurt and bitterness to the Lord in prayer. But she doesn’t dwell on it in her prayer. God knows how she’s feeling. What good does it do her to focus on her bitterness? Instead she recognizes that God is Lord Almighty. “O Lord Almighty,” she says. Remembering who God is can be a great comfort and a reassuring reminder of who is ultimately in control. And Hannah acknowledges that God is Almighty.
Hannah gives her heavy burden to the Lord, pouring out her heart and soul, weeping before God openly and honestly.
“In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly.” (1 Sam 1:10)
I’m pretty sure we’ve all felt deep anguish and have wept bitterly at some point in our lives…but do we pray to God?
Hannah also asked God for her heart’s desire. She prayed for a baby. Have you ever asked God for your heart’s desire, whatever it may be? I have. And, from first hand experience, I can tell you God doesn’t promise to always answer our prayers in the way we may expect, in the way we may hope, or when we think it should happen. But, God is always good. He is always listening and always works things for our good.
Hannah asks God for a son and promises the baby’s life will be dedicated to the Lord. Hannah knows how precious children are and that they can have an active role in God’s plan. Even without an answer to her prayer, before he’s even conceived, she dedicates the child’s life to the Lord.
Meanwhile, Eli the priest was watching her pray in the temple, her mouth was moving but she was not speaking out loud. Clearly, she’s drunk. Wait, what? Yeah, you read correctly, Eli assumes and scolds her for being drunk. But dear Hannah doesn’t shrink away from his accusation, nor does she react with attitude. Listen to what she says:
“I am a woman who is deeply troubled…I was pouring out my soul to the Lord…I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.” (1 Sam 1:16)
A friend of mine told me that when she sees something sad, she “ugly cries.” Maybe that was Hannah, “ugly crying” over her pain and distress, unashamed of putting it all out there before the Lord, no matter who saw her. When she prayed, she blocked out everything else until it was just her and God. And then she let it go and told the Lord everything, not out loud for all to hear, but God heard. She also wasn’t worried if her mascara smudged. In fact, I bet Hannah wasn’t even thinking about appearances! She was talking to her Father about her troubles, pouring out her soul, praying out of anguish and grief. Wow. I want to be more like Hannah, don’t you?
I love the example Hannah sets for us. Pray when we hurt. Pray no matter where we are or who sees. Pray and ask God for our hearts desires. Pray to a God who lovingly listens to our anguish or joy. And always pray openly and honestly from your heart.
(1 Samuel 1)