September 16, 2017

The Prayer of Hannah

By: Larry Shaffer

(Pictures from my ministry trips to Malawi, Africa)

I Samuel 2

Hannah is the real deal

At the end of chapter 1, once Samuel has been weaned, Hannah takes Samuel back to the priest, Eli, who thought she was drunk. Hannah said to Eli “for this boy I prayed, and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of Him. So, I have also dedicated him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the Lord.” Chapter 2 begins with a prayer and song of thanksgiving to the Lord. Contrast this prayer with Hannah’s desperate plea in 1:10 “She, greatly distressed, prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly.” Contrast to 2:1 “Then Hannah prayed and said, ‘My heart exults in the Lord; My horn is exalted in the Lord, my mouths speaks boldly against my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation.” Her situation changed and her prayers changed accordingly. There’s much talk in Christian circles today about being “authentic”. There’s truth to it but I sense it gets twisted in that Christians use their stance on authenticity as a license or justification for their sin, their weaknesses, their fleshly propensities. I don’t want this false view to alter what I see in Hannah as authenticity before God in prayer. I’m not proud of my doubt, my fear, my mind filled with the wants of comforts and happiness above all else — but when I feel them I should take them before God and unleash myself before Him in all my weakness and pain. Take them all to God, fully and completely. Help me Lord to be “authentic” before you. Not as a license for my weaknesses and sin but as surrender to you with pleadings for help from You. Lord, hear me, revive me, restore me and answer me according to Your perfect will. Also, in times of joy, don’t let me hold back. May I loudly and boldly exult You and praise you always. There’s much I can learn from Hannah