The Psalmist said, “He gives the barren woman a home; making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the Lord” (Ps 113:9). In 1 Samuel, we are introduced to Hannah, a woman of God who is deeply afflicted by the fact that her womb is closed by the Lord (1 Sam 1:5,10). As a result, she would carry her supplications and anxieties to the Lord; she prayed for a son, one whom she could devote to the service of the Lord. Hannah had done what she could, making herself vulnerable to the mercy of God. Nevertheless, Hannah went about content with what she had done and with the mercy of God (1 Sam 1:18b). In time, the Lord would reward her with a filled womb, and she would bare a son. This son was Samuel, a name meaning “heard of God.” She knew the Lord’s hand was influencing her life, that He had looked upon His servant and heard her cries. Consequently, we have Hannah’s prayer of thanksgiving found in 1 Samuel 2:1-10.
This context is a beautiful prayer. It conveys a rush of joy as a once anxious servant has now been assured and blessed. In this prayer, we note an overarching theme of the sovereignty of God. He does and chooses as He wills. We can further view this prayer in three parts. God is sovereign, and we see His sovereignty in justice (2-5), reward (6-8), and faithfulness (9-10).
The justice of God turns the tides. The rewarding of God is dealt as He sees fit. The faithfulness of God is extended to those who have been faithful to Him. He is sovereign. First Samuel 2:1-10 provides the believer with a model of prayer, we should pray …
…With confidence. We are often ridden with concerns, all varying one person to another. What might be plaguing my brother might not be what is plaguing me. Our concerns can be physical, spiritual, and emotional. Scripture assures us that God is capable of aiding in these times. When it comes to the physical, God cares for us in an unrivaled way. Where will my food come from? Have you considered the birds of the air, the care they receive, and that we are of greater value to God (Matt 6:26)? Where will my clothing come from? Have you considered the lilies of the field, arrayed far better than Solomon and yet of lesser value than you (Matt 6:28-30)? When it comes to what we need spiritually, nobody supplies like God. God made a plan from the beginning designed to bring you to Him (Eph 1:4-5). He executed this plan by sending His Son (Gal 4:4-5). He perfected this plan by sealing us with the Spirit (Eph 1:13-14). Likewise, our spiritual needs are well cared for. Regarding our emotional troubles, nobody is as present as God. His eyes are toward us and His ears listening to our cries (Ps. 34:15). He remains present in the time of trouble to hear our anxieties (1 Pet. 5:7). He is a friend that is always available (1 John 5:15). God has the power to help in times of trouble, have we given Him the reigns?
…With gratefulness. The Lord has looked upon you with favor. What joy must that provoke? David in Psalm 8 is taking into account the vast power of God, the beauty of His creation, and His mindfulness of man. “What is man that you are mindful of Him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Ps 8:4). Who are we to receive such divine care? Why should my voice be heard? Why should He be considerate of my troubles? Because we are His children, the apple of His eye, the arrows that fill His quiver.
…With persistence. We become troubled at silence when we ask for good things and the answer is not immediately given. What about my ill loved one? What about my marriage? And, What about my children? Imagine if Hannah had stopped praying. What about Samuel? What would have come of that? Hence, the Lord’s admonition that we pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:16). As we look at the context prior to our text, we see a woman who petitioned her God undyingly until every word had been implored. How sweet, how honest, how vulnerable those prayers must have been.
To pray like Hannah I must approach God with confidence, with gratefulness for His favor, and in persistence with my pleas. His favor might be seen as “yes,” “no,” or “not yet.” Have you bowed yourself to His mercies? Have you praised God for the answer He has given you? Have you become a regular petitioner at the foot of His throne? Whether it be a barren or filled womb, empty or filled table, new home, or same home – God is mindful of you and is blessing you accordingly. Therefore, rejoice.