Mid-week Bridge 5 June 2024

From Pat with thanks

The Story of Hannah

  2: Faithfulness and Answered Prayer

continue Hannah’s story in 1 Samuel 1, as she explains
to Eli that she is not drunk but praying.
15 “Not so, my lord,” Hannah
replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking
wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord16 Do
not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my
great anguish and grief.” 17 Eli answered, “Go in
peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what
you have asked of him
.” 18 She said, “May your
servant find favour in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and
her face was no longer downcast. 19 Early the next
morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah
made love to his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. 20 So
in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She
named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.” 21 When
her husband Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the
annual sacrifice to the Lord and
to fulfil his vow, 22 Hannah did not go. She said
to her husband, “After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him
before the Lord, and he will
live there always.”  23 “Do
what seems best to you,” her husband Elkanah told her. “Stay here until you
have weaned him; only may the Lord make
good his word.” So the woman stayed at home and nursed her son until
she had weaned him.
Our praying,
our crying out, may be like Hannah’s, it may be something very spontaneous, or
very personal that we wouldn’t want anyone else to hear. But often it is
necessary to seek another person’s support, even though they don’t know all the
details, they can pray over you and affirm your crying out to God. That’s what
the priest Eli did with Hannah, he didn’t know what she was praying, he didn’t
even know she was praying until she clarified her actions. But then he
recognised her sincerity, and he says to her, ‘go in peace’ (v. 17) and prays
that God grants her request. For Hannah, and for us, to hear someone affirm
that God has heard our cries and knows our heart, can be so important, it
becomes part of the AMEN as we leave everything with God.
you need to ask someone to stand with you as you pray a big prayer to God? They
don’t need all the details; they just need to know you’re crying out for God to
intervene and are willing to surrender to his will.
Hannah was
told to go, and we are told to go. We cannot lament for the rest of our lives;
God does not want us to lament for the rest of our lives. He wants to work in
our pain and bring glory and restoration through our sufferings.
Part of the answer to our prayer,
therefore, lies in us moving forward in faith so that God can answer as our
life continues and our circumstances evolve.
We need to move on in peace, with confidence. We
may not be sure what we are going back to or to face, but we go in peace
knowing God is in control and will sustain us.
Hannah let life continue. God answered her prayer, not
sure how long but it was answered – yes to a son.  She named him Samuel – “God has heard’.

Are there
situations you are avoiding because of pain or uncertainty? Pray for God’s
timing and the power and strength of the Holy Spirit to move forward into an
Hannah was
so thankful to God for the possibility to have a son, to nurture and love him
if only for a short time. Hannah savoured her answer, she delighted in her son,
doing the best for Samuel to show she loved him – but she loved God more and
would give him to God. We can receive what we ask from God but then swiftly
move onto the next ask, the next thing we want. We too should savour the
blessings God gives us and keep our promises, be obedient to what he asks of us.
Whether the
answer is yes, no or wait – we need to be prepared to accept what God decides,
waiting is not always easy. Hannah got her answer quite quickly, but it may not
always be the case for us.  
Thank God now for answered pray or
for a double portion of patience if you’re waiting for Him to reveal his plan.

Loving Father, thank you for
your faithfulness, thank you for answered prayer. Fill us with your holy spirit
so we can live our lives in obedience, with patience and with confidence in
you. Give us your peace as we wait and trust. We give thanks for all those who
have stood by us or prayed for us. We pray for all those we are concerned for,
family, friends, the world – for your will to be done in their lives and
situations. In Jesus’ name.  Amen