1 Samuel 1:9-20;(Psalm)1 Samuel 2:1,4-8; Mark 1:21-28
“She … no longer appeared downcast.” (1 Samuel 1:18)
The years weighed on Hannah— years of feeling worthless to her husband Elkanah because she was barren; years of being taunted by Elkanah’s other wife; years of believing that God had forgotten her. Hannah couldn’t even bring herself to eat the meal Elkanah brought from his annual sacrifice to God. In desperation, she went before the Lord herself and poured out her heart.
Then something miraculous happened—even before Hannah conceived the son she had been praying for. Hannah was transformed. She returned to Elkanah with her head held high and a new hope in her heart. The weight of condemnation was lifted, and she was no longer ashamed!
What happened? As Hannah stood praying for a son, she made herself vulnerable to God. Because she opened her heart to him, she gave him the opportunity to show her his compassion and love. In that intimate encounter, she saw that God had not forgotten her. She realized that her value didn’t come from her ability to bear children; it came from the fact that she was a daughter of Israel. It came from the fact that she had the privilege of going before the Lord and telling him her needs.
Because she was so open in prayer, Hannah touched the loving heart of God, and her anxiety and depression melted away. Even when the priest Eli mistakenly thought she was drunk, she didn’t respond defensively or bitterly. Instead, she boldly pleaded her cause to him and received his blessing. Her hope was cemented, and she went home a changed woman!
This story of Hannah encourages us to seek the presence of God in our prayer. It tells us to focus our attention on him and his love, giving him the freedom to do whatever he wants to do in our lives. We may have specific needs to bring to him—and we should do so with boldness and confidence. But our highest calling, and our greatest honor, is to fix our eyes on the Lord and let him draw us to his side. That’s when the real transformation happens!
“Father, as I lay my needs before you, let me touch your merciful heart. Teach me to be attentive to other people so that I may show your compassion and mercy to them!”~WAU