Persistent Prayer Series: Part II
Every year, Hannah and all of God’s people go down to Shiloh, where the tabernacle of the LORD rest, to participate in the annual Passover feast. On one occasion, Hannah, the wife of Elkanah, journeyed to Shiloh and positioned herself in front of the tabernacle to pray. As she prayed, she did in an inaudible voice (in her heart but she did not move her lips) (1 Samuel 2:13).
As she was supplicating the LORD there, the High Priest Eli was observing her behavior. To him, Hannah appeared to be drunk, for she seemed to be acting in a disorderly manner to Eli. So, Eli approached Hannah and chastised her for her conduct. But Eli misunderstood Hannah’s behavior and mistaken her to be drunk when she was not. When Hannah realized Eli’s error, she explained what she was doing and the reason behind her awkward behavior. Once Eli realized his error concerning Hannah, he immediately apologized and then says this to her.
Let’s come back to this point in a minute and go back a few verses in First Samuel chapter 1.
Starting with verse 10, we see Hannah praying to God about her hopeless situation. She said to God in verses 10 and 11
hannah’s specific prayer
Hannah was very specific to God about her prayer request and how her years of sterility have negatively affected not only her health but her emotional state. Emotionally, Hannah described to God how her inability to get pregnant made her feel. She said she was full of bitterness and her soul was sorrowful. That she was so outdone by her circumstance that as she prayed to God about it, she wept in anguish (1 Samuel 1:10). This brings us back to verse 17, when Eli said to her, “go in peace….”
According to the Strong’s Concordance, “peace” (#7965) or shalom in verse 17 of First Samuel chapter 1 carries several different meanings. The definitions that are fitting for this verse are completeness, wholeness, health, soundness, perfectness, fullness, and the absence of agitation or discord. Peace (shalom) is taken from the root word shalam which means to be complete, perfect, or full.
When Hannah was pouring out her soul before the LORD concerning her matter in front of the tabernacle, she was saying to God – I am not complete because I am without a male offspring. I am not perfect because my body is not producing as God has designed women’s bodies to do so. That she was not full because she was lacking the one thing her heart truly desire and that was a male offspring that she could call hers.
She wanted God to intercede in her imperfect situation and make it perfect so that her womb was able to produce a child. She needed God’s Spirit to invade her body and give it life – good health so that her female organs would receive the gift of life that God provides every woman the ability to do. She needed God to be God in her situation and changed it so that she can become pregnant by her husband and not just produce any child. But specifically, have a male child who can serve God all the days of his life in a specific role. Hannah wanted God to provide her very specific outcome concerning a newborn that will directly impact his entire life span. NOW THAT WAS BOLD!
Hannah wrestled with God and made her claims and declarations before Him. But like Jacob (Israel) did Hannah won (prevailed) in her wrestling match with God?
eli intervenEs in hannah’s situation
Continuing where we left off at verse 17, Eli said to Hannah, “go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you asked Him.”
Now, if we read these few verses as it is in 1 Samuel chapter 1, verses 12 through 17. It appeared Hannah did not provide Eli with the full extent of her story. She seemed to only tell Eli that she was sorrowful in spirit and therefore she was supplicating the LORD in heart to receive an answer (a resolution) from the LORD. Despite Eli’s limited knowledge concerning Hannah’s root problem in her situation, Eli used his authority and deific power that was granted to him by God to divinely change Hannah’s circumstances. Therefore, he was able to say to Hannah in verse 17, “go in peace” or go in wholeness (shalom). Or go in good health (shalom). Or go in completeness for God will grant you what your heart most desired. (Compare to Psalm 37:3-4).
There are two things we need to understand here.
Let your maidservant find favor
Let’s close this out. There is so much I can say about Hannah’s story. But I will end with this.
After Eli blessed Hannah’s prayer request in verse 18, she agreed with the words Eli spoke in verse 17 by saying. “… Let your maidservant, find favor in your sight.” Notice that Hannah not only verbally agreed with Eli’s prayer concerning her. But she understood that she had to be in good standing with her Creator to benefit from Eli’s petition to God.
Again, she said, “… let your maidservant find favor….” The word favor means grace, which is the Hebrew word Hēn (H2579). Zechariah 12:10 explains the word grace or favor this way. “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and supplication….”
According to the Strong’s Concordance, grace (#2580) (or favor in this case) derives from the root word chanan which means “to act graciously or mercifully towards someone; to be compassionate; and to be favorably inclined.”
So, in the case of Hannah. Through the High Priest Eli, God was able to show Hannah favor or grace or to act mercifully towards her to grant or answer her prayer, which was to be able to get pregnant and to give birth to a healthy baby boy.
Did God fulfill everything Hannah asked for in her state of affliction? Well, let’s check off every item she listed in her prayer to see if God did what she asked.
god weighed hannah as well as eli by their actions
First, in verse 11 of 1 Samuel chapter 1, Hannah asked God to remember and not forget her. Secondly, in that same verse, she told God how He can remember her by blessing her with the ability to get pregnant with a male offspring. And then, when she conceived, he would be (1) born as a Nazarite, and (2) he would be willing to serve God all of his days. Hannah knew exactly what she wanted and she clearly expressed it to God through prayerful complaints and grievances.
So, did God fulfilled her request? Did God remember and not forget her struggle with barrenness for years? Yes, He did. God did remember and did not forget Hannah. How do we know this?
Hannah wrestled with God and won. She prevailed through persistent prayer.
To read part I of this sermon series, visit my blog at https://www.deaidrenewby.com/encouraging-scripture/persistence-in-prayer-wrestling-with-god.
God's word is for the edification, exhortation, and consolation; for teaching, reproving, correcting, and training so that every Christian is equipped for the work of service, to build up the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 14:3; 2 Timothy 3:16; Ephesians 4:12).
This blog is really not about me, but more about my Father and our relationship. How we interact with one another and my response to His prompting. To be honest, at the moment, I do not know what to expect from this blog. I have no idea how personal I will get, what exactly I will share, and how often I will do it. But one thing is for certain. I will share what God places on my heart to share.