“She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord, and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow and said, ‘O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thy maidservant, and remember me, and not forget thy maidservant, but wilt give to thy maidservant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.’” (1 Samuel 1:10-11)
Today we continue the story of Hannah, the first wife of Elkanah. Year after year, Hannah would cry her heart out because of the constant provocation she received from her rival Peninnah. One day, she decided to carry her burdens to God in prayer.
Hannah’s prayer was a covenant agreement with God. As we read: “She vowed a vow and said, ‘O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thy maidservant, and remember me, and not forget thy maidservant, but wilt give to thy maidservant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.’” (1 Samuel 1:11)..
Hannah was willing to give something to God in exchange for what she was asking for. Her prayer was her vow. When we pray, we should not simply concern ourselves with what we are to gain from God, we should also be willing to give back something to God. Even in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus clearly told us that we should not expect forgiveness of our sins when we refuse to forgive others.
Secondly, Hannah’s prayer was not loud. We read: “Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard; therefore, Eli took her to be a drunken woman.” (1 Samuel 1:13). There is absolutely nothing wrong with praying aloud but God hears us even when others cannot hear our voice. Jesus told us: “When you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:5-6).
Thirdly, Hannah did not doubt that God would answer her prayer. When Eli the priest assured her that God will surely answer her, Hannah believed Eli. We read: “Then the woman went her way and ate, and her countenance was no longer sad.” (1 Samuel 1:18)
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus was in the temple teaching but his presence alone became a threat to a demon-possessed man. Jesus only needed to utter a single sentence and the demon came out. Jesus not only taught with authority, but he also commanded the devil with authority.
That a man with a demon could enter the Synagogue should open our eyes to the fact that it is not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” in the church that is okay. Some of us are just satanic agents, demons in disguise, set to destroy souls. The only shield we have as Christians is Prayer. Jesus commanded demons not just because He is God, He was a man of prayer. A prayer-less Christian is a powerless Christian.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, deepen my faith and increase my confidence in you. Amen.
Bible Study: 1 Sam. 1:9-20, 1 Sam. 2:1,4-8, Mark 1:21-28).