I am always leery when I am about to hear a Bible teacher speak that I am not familiar with. So I found myself much relieved when Jennifer Mathewson Speer came to the podium and began with the words: “The Bible is about God. From cover to cover. Old through the New. It is all about God’s character.” Well, yes and amen in a time when so many teachers want to make the Bible all about us. Yes, we apply His word to our lives but first and foremost we should read a passage examining it for what it conveys to us about God.
Jennifer’s text was the familiar passage of Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 1. She gave us four applications to encourage us in our prayer life. She began by recognizing that God had a divine plan. He wanted to raise up a faithful leader for His people and at the same time Hannah was praying for a child.
- We must pray related.
Hannah was in a right relationship with God. She was faithful to go with her husband yearly and sacrifice to the Lord. We never read that Hannah ever responded unkindly to Peninnah’s provocations nor do ever see Hannah blaming her husband Elkanah for their not having children. She even responded gently to Eli the priest after she had poured out her heart to God and Eli accused her of being drunk. Though sadness was evident, it does not seem that bitterness or anger, which would hinder her relationship with God, were a part of Hannah’s life.
- We must pray aligned.
Remember God’s plan for a faithful man to lead His people? Hannah prayed for God to remember her in her affliction. She vowed to God that if He would give her a son, then she would give him to the Lord all the days of his life.
“God will use our circumstances to move us to pray according to His will.”
God is all-powerful. He can do whatever He wants whenever He wants. Yet, most times He chooses to use us to work through for His will to be accomplished. God’s plan would come to fruition as He answered Hannah’s prayer and Samuel, her son, would be set apart for God to use.
Jennifer reminded us that there is no secret prayer formula and that praying “In Jesus’ name” means we are asking what Jesus wants, we are praying according to God’s word and we are abiding in His word.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. -Psalm 37:4
“Delight” doesn’t mean this feel good I’m reading my Bible and having a great quiet time kind of word. It means to be conformed in the Lord. God can give us the desires of our heart when we are conforming to His character and ways because we will be praying what His character desires.
- We must pray cleansed.
Any sin in our lives must be confessed. Sin dulls our spiritual senses. We cannot be an effective servant of the Lord’s when we are unrepentant of sin in our lives.
- We pray thankful.
The end of Philippians 4:6 tells us to pray with thanksgiving in everything. Does that mean we thank God for cancer? No, it means we can thank Him for helping us get through another day with it. It means we thank Him for the opportunities we have in sharing about Him because of our sickness.
We thank Him because in all things He is our living Hope. We pray to Him because we know from His word that He is faithful and in Him we can trust.
Believer, may you find peace this day as you cast your anxiety on Him just as Hannah did because she knew He was faithful and in Him she could trust.