Samuel is among the most well-known prophets in the Old Testament. His life begun with a miraculous birth and he grew up to be a faithful servant of God. There are vital lessons that we can learn from Samuel’s life and one of these is the power of prayer. Samuel could not have existed if it weren’t because of his mother’s persistent and heart-felt prayer to God.
Enduring a life of childlessness
Samuel’s mother, Hannah, is among the most faithful women mentioned in the Bible. She is one of the two wives of Elkanah and though she was greatly loved by her husband, she could not bear a son.
We need to remember the social stigma given to childless women during their time. Being childless in the nation of Israel means that a woman will not have the chance to be the mother of the promised Messiah. They mistakenly view barrenness as a curse and a punishment from God. Being childless also means that a woman would not be able to continue the lineage of her husband.
So you can now see why Hannah desperately want to have a child. To make things worse, Peninnah, the other wife of Elkanah, would provoke Hannah to tears and remind her that she is childless. You can just imagine all sorts of things that Peninnah could have said to Hannah to make her life miserable.
From Barrenness to Fruitfulness
So one day, Hannah “was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the LORD and wept in anguish” (I Samuel 1:10). This is where we can see the faith in action of Hannah. She did not pray to any other gods when Israel’s idolatrous worship is rampant. Instead, she prayed to the LORD of Israel, the One True and Living God.
As she was praying to God, she was seen by Eli, the priest of the Tabernacle. Eli then told Hannah that “the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him” (verse 17). So Hannah “went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad” (verse 18).
Hannah did not doubt. She knew that Eli’s word was enough to confirm that God had already answered her prayer and the answer to her prayer is Samuel. To make things even better to Hannah, she did not just bear one child, but bore three more sons and two daughters (I Samuel 2:21)!
The God who answers prayer
We have seen in the life of Hannah that God truly answers prayers. This should be obvious by now for us Christians but how many times have we doubted God’s power and might? How many times have we come to God and are not fully convinced that what He had promised He can also deliver?
When we pray, we need to realize that God is ABLE and is more than willing to help us. Through the help of Christ as our High Priest who can “sympathize with our weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:14), we can now “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need”.
While it is also true that not all our prayers are answered the way we want it to be, we must remember that God is in ultimate control. We can have the faith that God will answer our prayers according to His love and infinite wisdom. We can be confident that no matter what the answers to our prayers, “we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
So be at rest. God knows our needs before we asked Him. The answer to your prayer is already on its way!