Read: “In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, ‘Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.’ As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, ‘How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.’ ‘Not so, my lord,’ Hannah replied, ‘I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.’ Eli answered, ‘Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.’ She said, ‘May your servant find favor in your eyes.’ Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.” 1 Samuel 1:10-18 (NIV)
Reflect: My first-born son was a challenge to raise. He was strong-willed, adventurous, and loved pushing the envelope. He was the one who climbed up a fifteen-foot diving board at age five and jumped into twelve feet of water; at age ten, he slid down a three-story water slide–by himself! He went to his first high school dance drunk on vodka and I once caught him smoking pot in the front yard of our home. Like Hannah in today’s passage, I was in anguish and wept bitterly. Not for the Lord to give me a son, but grudgingly asking, “What have I done to deserve this rebellious child?” I found myself bargaining with God. “If you make my son behave, I will…”
My son moved away to college at nineteen. My prayers began to shift then. I began praying, “Lord, surround my son with godly men who love you, who are willing to walk with him as he strives to walk with you.” “Lord, thank you in advance for the woman of God you are preparing for my son. I pray that she knows and loves you first before anyone else.” These became my bold and specific prayers over the next dozen years. Thankfully, God surrounded my son with a community of Christ-followers who have faithfully walked with him through even the darkest times. Remarkably, God transformed my son into a man who is full of faith, seeking to obey God first in every area of his life. Bonus…this September, he marries his bride – a spirit-filled woman who loves God named Hannah.
React: Is there something you are in anguish about? What can you surrender to God in prayer today?
Pray: God, teach us to come boldly to you, confident that you can and will do immeasurably more than we can imagine.