Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Devotional by Laura Thomas: Hannah's story, a lesson on prayer

Anguish and Adoration
A devotional written by Laura Thomas

“In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly.” 
~1 Samuel 1:10 (NIV)

Hannah believed, even in her pain. She trusted that God held her future in the palm of His mighty hand. Even when her baby dreams were dashed as time marched on to the rhythm of her biological clock ticking, she came to the Lord in prayer. Even in her monthly disappointment, which stretched on year after year—she prayed.

Infertility in Bible times was a cultural nightmare. Children were considered a blessing and a joy, not to mention a comfort and security for old age, and society looked down upon barren women with complete disdain. As if the pain of infertility were not heartbreaking enough...

Hannah prayed for a child incessantly and passionately, regularly and with total abandon. It was to the point where even Eli the Priest thought she was inebriated as she wordlessly mouthed her supplications to the Father! She had to explain how utterly desperate her prayers were: “…I was pouring out my soul to the Lord.”~1 Samuel 1:15b (NIV)

Makes me consider my own prayer life. And cringe slightly. How often do I pour out my soul to the Lord? Know what I mean?

Do we treat our communication with God as a priority over all other communication—email, texting, social media, blogs? If God had an Instagram account, would He hear from us more often? Yikes. Oh, there’s a place for all these things, and for many of us it’s a part of our work, but surely not at the expense of our relationship with the Lord.

Personally, I know that I can’t expect to have words of encouragement and inspiration for others when I’m not in regular communication with God. And that bleeds over into every relationship with coworkers, family, friends, neighbors, etc. It’s very difficult to bring life-giving glory to God when we are spiritually dry and parched and barren. 

“Then Hannah prayed and said: 'My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. 
There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.'”~1 Samuel 2:1-2 (NIV)

Hannah’s prayers were answered—she was granted a baby, and her cries of anguish finally turned to cheers of adoration. I’m pretty sure if this was my story, I would have been ridiculously grateful, but then ridiculously possessive of said child. The years of waiting would have been excruciating and I would hole myself away with my baby and enjoy him. But not Hannah!

She gave this child back to the Lord, not just in her heartfelt prayers, but literally she took him back to the temple once he was weaned, to live a life in service to God. She made him cute little robes to wear and visited him each year. Doubtless, she was in constant communication with God even then, and found her comfort and joy in Him. And God, being gracious and rich in love, blessed this sweet woman with three more sons and two daughters.

I love the account of Hannah, the persevering prayer warrior who never gave up hope. We have much to learn from her, don’t we? I think that even if she had not been blessed with a child, she would have continued to commune with her Heavenly Father on a regular basis—it was part of her very being. It was as natural and as essential as the air she breathed. God was her everything.

“…there is no one besides you…” ~1 Samuel 2:2 (NIV)

Will you come to the Father just as Hannah did, full of faith and full of hope, in anguish and in adoration?

Author bio: 
Laura is a published Christian author with a heart for inspiring and encouraging readers of all ages. 

She is truly multi-genre—with a published Christian teen fiction trilogy, marriage book, children’s stories, devotionals for Union Gospel Press, musings on her blog, and she now has a literary agent representing her Christian romantic suspense novel. 

Laura is English and Canadian, married to her high school sweetheart, mom of three, passionate about faith and family…and chocolate!

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