When was the last time you prayed this urgently?
I’m preaching this Sunday on the birth of Samuel: the third in our series, Ways in the Manger.
In the beginning of the narrative, Hannah longs for a child. She prays so urgently for a son that the priest, Eli assumes she is drunk. But Hannah assures him that she is as sober as a judge.
12 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 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. 14 And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.” 15 But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” 17 Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.” 18 And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
Lest, we get the wrong picture, notice the text says Hannah was “speaking in her heart” – - – only her lips moved. So she was not blathering like Otis on the Andy Griffith show. Still, she was pouring out her soul so urgently that Eli thought she was looped.
We ought also to notice what will become clear as the narrative progresses. The God of Israel truly was central for Hannah. She did not want a child who would become a small idol for her. I’ll have much more to say about that in the sermon.
I wonder when was the last time I prayed as urgently as Hannah? Is there ever a time when we pray so urgently because we are so concerned for the cause of Christ?