Hannah’s Prayer-Part 1

1 Samuel 2:1-5

1Then 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. 2“There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.

3“Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the Lord is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed. 4“The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength. 5Those who were full hire themselves out for food, but those who were hungry are hungry no more. She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away.

Introduction

How often do you pray every single day? Do you pray upon waking up or after you get out of bed? Do you pray before going to bed or while lying on your bed? Do you pray before or after meal, before you drink your coffee or have a snack? Some people would pray before they drive their car. Most often, believers pray for big problems but what do you regularly pray for every single day?

It says in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-21, 16Rejoice always, 17pray continually, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19Do not quench the Spirit. 20Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22reject every kind of evil.

How do you respond when it says pray continually? Does it mean praying without interruption? That would not apply when you sleep or while talking to someone, right? It is not praying continually for one day or one hour, right?

Observe that rejoicing always, praying continually, and giving thanks in all circumstances are connected to the will of God, and inspired by the Holy Spirit. And, warning of not quenching the Holy Spirit is included. How do we quench the Spirit? The Holy Spirit is suppressed when we treat prophecies with contempt.

What prophecies are these? When God’s word is preached or proclaimed. The Holy Spirit speaks to us personally. So if we despise, ignore, disregard, or reject when the Spirit speaks to us, the work of the Holy Spirit in us is quenched, extinguished, or suppressed,. Praying continually is the work of Christ’s Spirit.

Paul exemplified praying continually in 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3, 2We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Probably, Hannah had continually prayed the same prayer, asking God for a son. When Eli the Priest told her to go home in peace, he may have appealed for the Lord to give her a child. Hannah rejoiced and acknowledged the holiness of God when her prayer request to have a child was granted.

1. Holy

1Then 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. 2“There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.

Have you boasted about the holiness of the Lord, yet? When Hannah said that God is holy, she declared that there’s no other God like God. How can we prove that Hanna prayed continually for extended time to have a son?

Think about it! Do you sense bitterness and anguish when you pray once and the Lord did not answer your prayer positively? For sure, you don’t!

Hannah prayed in bitter anguish because she had been to have a son for quite some time, maybe years. The other wife of Elkanah had given birth to many children while she did not have one until Samuel was born. When the Priest Eli told her to go home in peace, she was assured at that time that her prayer request was granted. So, she went home with peace in her heart and mind.

What does it mean when Hannah prayed that her ‘horn is lifted high?’ The term ‘horn’ in Hebrew is figurative language which implies ‘strength,’ ‘power,’ or ‘dignity.’ Having no child, Hannah felt that she had no dignity. Moreover, people despised her. So, giving birth to a son, she claimed her ‘dignity’ was ‘lifted high’.

Hannah expressed her delight that the Lord delivered her from mockery. She acknowledged that the Holy Lord removed all reasons for others to despise her when she gave birth to Samuel. She boasted not because she was able to but because of the favor of God was upon her. She was blessed by the Lord.

The Lord says in Jeremiah 9:23-24, 23Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, 24but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.

Parents love to talk about achievements of their children. Grandparents love to talk about their grandchildren. As believers, we also have tendencies to be proud of personal achievements. But the Lord says through Jeremiah that He is never delighted when the wise boasts of their wisdom, when the strong boast of their strength and the rich boast of their wealth. What would delight the Lord?

The Lord is delighted when we boast that we know Him personally and experienced His kindness, justice, and righteousness. It says in Matthews 5:6, 6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

When we hunger and thirst for His righteousness continually, the Lord is delighted to bless us.  When Hannah prayed in bitter anguish, the Lord filled her with rejoicing and she felt the Lord’s blessing. Her dignity was restored. It’s a biblical example that the Lord satisfies the hungry who prays continually.

2. Hungry

3“Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the Lord is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed. 4“The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength. 5Those who were full hire themselves out for food, but those who were hungry are hungry no more. She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away.

Don’t you want to be appreciated a little bit? Does it affect our spiritual life if we crave for little praise of what we achieved or attained for? Craving for little flattery will surely increase desires for more, why? Human hunger and thirst for temporary things in this world will continue as long as we live in this world.

In contrast, hunger and thirst for righteousness is blessedness that gives satisfaction and translates to our life in eternity. Hannah declared in her prayer that she rejoiced in the Lord. We can also rejoice in the Lord when His grace is at work in our life as Hannah may have experienced personally.

Previously, Hannah was barren. She was despised by Peninnah but she did not retaliate. She prayed earnestly, and God granted her with 4 sons and 2 daughters. Peninnah may have been very sorry that she mocked Hannah after Samuel the first born son of Hannah became leader of Israel. Do you think so?

In her prayer, Hannah advised not to be proud or arrogant. Was she thinking of Peninnah? The Lord knows and evaluates every deed.

It says in Proverbs 16:2, 2All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.

And in Proverbs 24:11-12, 12If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?

Kings of Israel

The book of kings narrates about the life and succession of kings in Israel.

It says in 2 King 15:8-14, 8Zechariah son of Jeroboam became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned six months. 9He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as his predecessors had done. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit.

10Shallum son of Jabesh conspired against Zechariah. He attacked him in front of the people, assassinated him and succeeded him as king. 11The other events of Zechariah’s reign are written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel. 12So the word of the Lord spoken to Jehu was fulfilled: “Your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.”

13Shallum son of Jabesh became king in the thirty-ninth year of Uzziah king of Judah, and he reigned in Samaria one month. 14Then Menahem son of Gadi went from Tirzah up to Samaria. He attacked Shallum son of Jabesh in Samaria, assassinated him and succeeded him as king.

Most kings of Israel have either partially obeyed the Lord or disobeyed Him completely. The lifestyle of the kings of Israel should have serve as warning that the Lord is attentive to lifestyle of mankind whether great or small. Romans 2:6 says, 6God will repay each person according to what they have done.

Pray continually, hunger and thirst for righteousness and God blesses us.

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