We all have things in our lives that we deeply desire to see manifest. At times we share our desires, other times it is shielded in the depths of our hearts. The train that doesn’t seem to be reaching its destination; the wait on the platform has never been this long. Delayed in our eyes, but on time in Gods’. Persistent prayers, and one might ask: “God where are you and why have you not answered my request?”. I find myself in this position from time to time and you start to demand that God ought to bless you with what you want and when you want it. Reality differs from this concept, and there are many things of which we may not get an answer for whilst on earth. However, we can learn from those who have gone before us and have seen the manifestation of their prayer.
Hannah is one of the most authoritative women in the bible (read 1 Samuel 1 and 1 Samuel 2). She has inspired me to pray without ceasing, persistently pray, declaring the unseen and to earnestly cry unto the Lord. Most people know her as the mother of Samuel, but overlook the power of her tongue that declared her sons existence. Hannah dealt with things in the spiritual realm through prayer and I believe we can all learn from her story (Ephesians 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places”).
Her husband Elkanah, had two wives: herself and Penninah. Hannah was barren but Penninah was blessed with children (1 Samuel 1:4 “And whenever the time came for Elkanah to make an offering, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the Lord had closed her womb. And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat”). One will wonder why the Lord would do such a thing: for a married woman to endure humiliation and dishonour. The favour she had in her husband’s eyes was not enough to comfort her; her hearts desire was to have a child (1 Samuel1:8 “Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?”).Sometimes I get to that place, where you see non-believers or even people you “think” do not deserve to be blessed receive the one thing you have been earnestly praying for. Other times we are blessed in other areas, but the one ting we are believing God for is not manifesting. And you wonder, “God where are you?” (Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.”).
At times we are selfish with our prayers, we want personal gain. Other times it is because the focus of our prayer is not in line with what God wants for us. Hannah went to the Lord because of Penninah provoking her and her prayer was not answered. However, when she shifted the prayer and made God the beneficiary of the prayer, she aligned herself to God’s will (1 Samuel 1:9-11 So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the tabernacle of the Lord. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. Then she made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head”). One has to ask themselves, how often do we make God the centre of our prayer?
Through the weeping and pain, Hannah was persistent and did not give up on God. We have to accept that things will happen in God’s time and not in ours. Like Hannah, there maybe things that you are praying and believing God for, and the people around you think you are delusional believing God for an answered prayer. Infact, when I am at that place, I don’t even share with such people what I am praying about. Perhaps you are at that place whereby you’re exhausted of praying, even when you try to pray, you are unable to utter words (1 Samuel 1:12-18 “And it happened, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli watched her mouth. Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk. So Eli said to her, “How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!” But Hannah answered and said, “No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. “Do not consider your maidservant a wicked woman,for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief I have spoken until now.”Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.”And she said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad“).
Hannah had faith. The words of declaration from the priest were enough for Hannah to acknowledge that God had heard her prayer and she rejected sorrow and embraced peace– total surrender.
Hannah was a woman of integrity, and remembered the promise she had made to the Lord (1 Samuel 1: 20-28 “ So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked for him from the Lord.” For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord.” So they worshiped the Lord there“). She was thankful and gave praises to the Lord (read Samuel 2).
The beauty of this story is that not only did God bless Hannah with a son, but he became one of the greatest prophets in the bible. In addition to this, God blessed Hannah with more children and her grandchildren became judges over Israel (1 Samuel 2-21 “And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile the child Samuel grew before the Lord“).
My prayer for you today is that the manifestation of an answered prayer will become evident in your life, at God’s appointed time. Lets get to that place where we cry unto the Lord and make Him the centre of our prayer. May the Holy Spirit lead your prayers and may the Lord continue to strengthen and give you supernatural faith to keep running the race. God wants to bless you with more than your prayer petition. I encourage you to raise your faith and not put any limits on what God is able to do in your life. Hannah’s story shows us that through your sufferings, God is able to to manifest His glory and bless you with a wonderful testimony and victory!