Have you ever felt powerless enough to pray a desperate prayer? There are situations that are completely beyond my power or capacity to solve. When I had cancer I had good medical care, but in the end I could only pray. I prayed similarly when I had a stroke. When my children or other loved ones are in need I do what I can, but most importantly I pray.
However, I have never prayed as desperate a prayer as the one Hannah prayed.
Hannah was a childless woman in a patriarchal society. She had no power; no voice.
Women in her day primarily cared about one thing: having children. That was all they could aspire to. Hannah didn’t have any children, and her husband’s other wife never missed an opportunity to remind her of her failure. She was miserable.
One day she had had enough. “…Hannah stood up.” (1 Samuel 1:9 NIV)
Hannah didn’t stand up like Hollywood has taught us to stand up; she didn’t start a movement or make a name for herself. That would never have occurred to her. She did something more significant.
Hannah, with bitter tears, stood up and talked to the only One who would listen, the only One who could do anything about her problem.
It wasn’t the first time she had prayed about her infertility, but this time she prayed with reckless abandon. She prayed with such desperation that she offered back to God the very son that she prayed for.
“O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon 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.” 1 Samuel 1:11
I don’t think Hannah was making a deal with the Lord, as if she could have. She was simply acknowledging that if the Lord answered her prayer and gave her a son that the child was his.
After years of infertility and defeat Hannah was heartbroken enough to pray that prayer, and God was faithful to answer.
God blessed Hannah with a son, Samuel, and because he is a generous God he gave her three more sons and two daughters. Samuel would grow up to be the last judge of Israel, and he would anoint king David. Hannah too would honor her promise.
“I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord…” 1 Samuel 1:27
Who listens to your every prayer? Who is the only One with the power to change anything? The most effective changes start with prayer. Crazy, heartbroken, desperate prayer is powerful.
Sometimes God supplies years of trouble in order to arrange a prayer of that kind.
Have you ever prayed such a heartbroken prayer? Are you praying any now?
I never fully knew God until I came to know Him in my desperation. Those prayers where honest and raw. They not only helped me see God in a new way, they helped me see myself.
Leonard Ravenhill said, “Hannah wanted a child, but God wanted a Samuel.”
“Have you ever prayed such a heartbroken prayer? Are you praying any now?”
My guess is that I don’t pray enough of them, but every so often, my heart breaks for Asia and America.
I feel the same way, Larry. I’m sure I don’t pray enough of them. Writing this post has me thinking about my often shallow prayer life, and I will do my best to deepen it. Great quote too! Thanks!