The majority of the scriptures in this article will be taken from 1 Samuel Chapter 1:1-20. Please feel free to use this as a sermon outline and to your own writing style.
We are all very familiar with many different Biblical accounts concerning prayer. When we speak of prayer the first person that comes to mind is Daniel. How many times have we heard countless messages urging us to draw closer to God through prayer, and many times our prayers are compared to Daniel and the many times he prayed. And sometimes we have been made to feel as if we have failed in our prayer life if we do not pray as many times as Daniel prayed. But the Bible tells us that “…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16) Though we can go into the depths of this scripture, for the sake of staying on subject we will just say that it doesn’t matter how many times we pray in one day, but the just life we are living will led us to have an effectual prayer in the eyes of God.
If there has ever been a time in history that we have been in need of answered prayers it is today. There is an urgency that our prayers must have today. In the book of 1 Samuel we find a Biblical account of a woman of God named Hannah. This Biblical account took place about 3,000 years ago, and today we can still apply the words of the Apostle Paul here when he said: “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4) Prayer brings us comfort through the scriptures. Do you believe that? Hannah lived in a time when the people of Israel had no king to rule over them. She lived in the times of the Judges of Israel. But Israel had become a corrupt people, a people full of sin and a nation slowly turning away from God. Sounds too much like our world today.
I. HANNAH WAS STERILE
Verses: 1- 2
- Elkanah had two wives
- Hannah – Who had no children
- Peninnah – Who had children
- They had gone to the City of Shiloh to offer sacrifices to the Lord
- When the time of the offering had come, Elkanah gave to his Peninnah and all her sons and daughters portions.
- To Hannah he gave a worthy portion because he loved Hannah.
- Now, we must understand that the Mosaic Law never approved for more than one wife, even though it was tolerated by Israel, it was not in God’s plan from the beginning. And many believe that Elkanah married Peninnah because Hannah was not able to bare children.
- Here we see the love Elkanah had for Hannah, that he gave her a worthy portion.
- Hannah was sterile. Elkanah’s other wife had children, but Hannah womb was shut up.
- In Israel at those times, it was considered a curse if a woman could not have children.
- But one thing we have forgotten was that this was not a curse, it was in the plans of God, because the Bible tells us that “THE LORD SHUT UP HER WOMB.”
- When God shuts the door, it means he is in control to open it up again when he wants. He was in control when he shut the door to the Ark for Noah, his family and the animals.
- Here we see the adversary, that anti-Christ spirit operating in the other wife of Elkanah.
- It is said that she provoked her sore, because the Lord had shut up her womb.
- It is noteworthy for us to take heed that that the scriptures remind us again, that the Lord shut up her womb.
- How many times have we been in a situation where we feel that everything is of no good, and we get bad news after bad news, the adversary, Satan would have us think that God is not aware, when in reality God has been in control from the beginning.
- The Church today is faced with this same situation. Many believe the Church has become sterile. Thinking that we can no longer give birth to children as in times past.
- Many demonstrate with their actions these very thoughts because we don’t see the growth that we once experienced years ago.
- Today the religious world and many Christians base their approval of God in the numbers and quantity of membership or people we see in our local churches.
- There are many Peninnah’s like the other woman in the midst of Hannah in her suffering being used by the adversary to bring hurt and pain to the Church today trying to tell her that she is sterile and lacks the approval of God because of the small number of people being converted.
- But remember what God has closed he can open any time.
- Is it that God needs us to be carried away into a deeper relationship with Him before He opens the doors for the Church?
In verse 7-8 we see Hannah had fallen into a deep depression because of the attacks of the adversary towards her.
- She did not eat at all; this depression had gone on year by year, every time she went up to the house of the Lord.
- Year by year we gather in our churches and it seems as if we get smaller and smaller, but remember whatever God closes He can open, and only in His time.
- In verse 8 her husband says to her, am not I better to thee than ten sons?
- If I tell my wife, am not I better than our two children? Her answer will be NO!
- Not because my wife doesn’t love me, but there is something special and a bond that is created when a woman gives birth to her child.
- There will be a great bond of peace and unity when God opens the door for the Church in these last days, a bond of peace, love and unity among God’s children, members of His body.
II. HANNAH TURNED TO PRAYER AS HER SOULTION
- Hannah was persistent in her prayers. I imagine she had prayed every time she had the opportunity, but this time the Bible tells us that she did something different.
- Hannah prayed and vowed a vow, she made a promise unto the Lord, that if He would listen to her prayer and give her a son, she would give him unto the Lord all the days of his life and no razor would come upon his head.
- She made a covenant (promise) with God.
- All of those who join the Church, join with a promise, vowing to take the Whole Bible as the Word of God, and walk to the best of their knowledge and ability.
- There was an urgency that can be felt as we read the words that came out from the heart of Hannah as she prayed.
- In verse 13 we see that Hannah spoke with her heart. There are many today that make the mistake in thinking that we must have intellectual words in order to get God’s attention. But here we must draw back to the scripture in our introduction that “…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16) All God is wanting is a righteous person, sincere in heart, actions and words, true to live what one preaches, then we will see our prayers answered.
- The solution to her problem was prayer; Hannah knew that prayer was all she could depend on.
- Seeing Hannah pray Eli thought she was drunk. In other words he could not understand what she was going through.
- How many times do we feel like Hannah? We do not know the burden many may feel for their loved ones that need to know Jesus? But be assured that like Eli, even though he did not understand what Hannah was going through, God was aware.
- God is still on the throne and he is never too busy to listen to the prayers of a just person.
III. WHAT WAS THE PROCESS OR WAY HANNAH PRAYED
- Hannah answers Eli and tells him in verse 15 “…I have poured out my soul before the Lord.”
- In other words Hannah had prayed an urgent prayer.
- If we want to see result in our individual lives and in the Church collectively we need to have that urgency in our prayers, pouring out our souls to the Lord.
- Not a prayer that has become a ritual, or because we feel that we have to pray in order to fulfill our job as a Christian, but it should be done with joy, letting God know we are thankful, letting Him know what we feel, what we need, pouring our hearts to God.
- Maybe this is the process that God is requiring of the Church today in these last hours in order to pour out His power and let us begin to birth children in the Church of the Living God, maybe he desires for the Church you and I to pour out our hearts to Him like Hannah did in this urgency of prayer that she felt.
- Is it ok to complain to God? I think it is, but not the complaint that we are accustomed to. But a way of letting God know what is bothering us, how we need His help in order to have success in giving us the victory. Maybe it may be that we need a little more faith, or that we struggle in a certain area of our lives, Hannah knew this and that is what she told Eli “…for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hierto” not just to Eli, but I imagine also to God.
- Eli gives her the blessing, “go in peace” “…So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.” It was VICTORY as brother Johnny Jones always declares in prayer, victory was won by faith.
- Did Hannah give birth at that instance? NO!
- But her faith was strengthened, her countenance was changed!
- When we surrender it all to God, there is Victory! By faith
- Though the Church may seem sterile to some today, she is walking in God’s program, and in due time God will open the doors, in due time she will bring forth children.
- God is waiting on us to feel the urgency of prayer, the faith of Hannah to know that God is in control.
IV. THE CONCLUSION IS PRAYER ANSWERED
- The Bible says Hannah rose up in the early morning, worshipped before the Lord, and returned to her home in Ramah.
- That word Ramah in the Hebrew language means “The Heights” in other words, Hannah moved onto greater heights, she went up higher with the Lord, because she had faith, she could just hear the sound victory ahead.
- “Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the Lord.”
Saints of God it is simple, God requires of us to have faith in our prayers, to be constant and persistent so that God can answer. “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26)image credit: http://ffmcontheweb.com/ffmcontheweb/Hands_in_prayer_4981cn.jpg