How Do You Bring God To Answer Your Heartfelt Prayers?
You can bring God into your bleeding heart by making Him a deal He cannot refuse. But how do I make the sovereign Lord a deal He cannot refuse?
Hannah,Elkanah’s first wife was a woman with a bleeding heart. Peninnah, his second wife with children for him made life miserable for Hannah who was barren at the time. The full story is told in first and second chapters of the book of Samuel. The Bible recorded it this way in 1Sam16-7
And because the Lord had closed her womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. NIV
It was that bad. To make matters worse, not even her loving husband understood the degree of pain in her bleeding heart confirming what was recorded in proverbs 1410 that:
Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy. NIV
Listen to his miserable consolation;
Elkanah her husband would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat?Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”1Sam18 NIV
You are right. Hannah did not as much as utter a word of reply to such arrant exaggeration of his position based on a misunderstanding of the heart of women. I don’t know who gave Elkanah the bogus impression that a son to a woman can be compared with a husband. Important and pivotal as a husband is, he cannot be squared with a son to a woman; the fruit of her womb. Hannah quietly stood up and left to tidy things up with her God.
How does a woman in her condition of heart, bring God into her predicament? How does a person with a bleeding heart attract the providential benevolence of God? How do you call God’s attention to your sore need? First, what did Hannah do?
Yes she prayed; but you have too. She went regularly to the Temple and prayed fervently; so have I too and maybe you also. But what else did this heartbroken woman who even her pastor accused of drinking herself to stupor before coming to church do that made God come quickly with the correct answer to her petition?
The Bible gave a little background to the period in the life of Israel when this story took place. It was a period when Eli was priest over Israel. He served with his two sons Hophni and Phinehas as assistants in Shiloh. They were the only channels of communication between the people if Israel and their God. Listen to the Bible.
Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the Lord Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the Lord. 1Sam.13
…In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord.1 Sam 1:10
…As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, “How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine.” 1Sam.112-14 NIV
Remember Eli was the priest, but he had become so spiritually blind and unconnected with his environment that he mistook a woman that just passed him on her way into the Temple where she wept sore to God, to be drunk. That was the position and judgment of Israel’s intermediary with God. Now hear what the Bible has to say about his two assistants.
Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord or for the duties of the priests to the people. When anyone offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come, while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand,and he would thrust it into the pan, or kettle, or cauldron, or pot; all that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is what they did at Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. Moreover, before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the one who was sacrificing,”Give meat for the priest to roast; for he will not accept boiled meat from you, but only raw.” And if the man said to him, “Let them burn the fat first, and then take whatever you wish,” he would say, “No,you must give it now; if not, I will take it by force.” Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the Lord; for they treated the offerings of the Lord with contempt. 1Sam.212-17 NRSV.
They were feeding themselves fat living like today’s Rock-Stars off the people of God. The Bible has not yet finished with the sons of the Priest; the mouth and eye of this gullible lot.
Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours. No, my sons; it is not a good report that I hear spreading among the Lord’s people. If a man sins against another man, God may mediate for him; but if a man sins against the Lord, who will intercede for him?” His sons, however, did not listen to their father’s rebuke, for it was the Lord’s will to put them to death. 1Sam.222-25 NIV
Now a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Did I not clearly reveal myself to your father’s house when they were in Egypt under Pharaoh? I chose your father out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense,and to wear an ephod in my presence. I also gave your father’s house all the offerings made with fire by the Israelites. Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling?Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?’ “Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel,declares: ‘I promised that your house and your father’s house would minister before me forever.’ But now the Lord declares: ‘Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained. 1Sam.227-30 NIV
That was the state of affairs when Hannah was battling with her private challenges.And the question remains: How did she attract God’s attention to her needs at this peculiar time? What did she do? Let’s look at the content of her petition to God as recorded in 1Sam.110-11
In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord. And she made a vow, saying,”O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.” NIV. Emphases are mine.
Hannah recognized that God had no credible representative in Israel. She knew by experience that the people of Israel were in dire need of a priest, judge and Prophet. So she offered God a deal He could not reject. God needed a representative among His people, Israel needed a priest, judge and Prophet and Hannah needed a son. Done deal! “God remember me and give me a son and I will bring him up in away that he will meet both your needs and the needs of your people” Hannah prayed. It was a deal God could not reject. He gave Hannah a son and Hannah gave God a servant and Israel’s needs were perfectly met. Samuel was one of the best gifts of a woman to her God and nation. He was the one whom God chose to anoint Israel’s first king, Saul son of Kish and Israel’s most important king,David son of Jesse.
What problems will the answer to your prayers solve for God in such a blotto world that has since declared God dead? What needs of the people will the answer to your prayers fulfill in world where one percent of the populace hoards the entire resource of the world watching with a nonchalant attitude while the majority goes to bed each day hungry?
You will notice that there was no record in the Bible of Hannah being a hindrance to her son’s service to God and His people. Do you know what? God went beyond her request and blessed her with five more children. That’s like my God. He goes beyond our asking and gives far more than we can ask and imagine.
So?Let’s get back to your heart desire. What is in your request card for God and His people? That’s one sure way to attract God’s benevolence to your bleeding heart. It’s up to you. The times we live in today you will agree is many times over worse than when Eli and his sons held sway in Israel. Today, the house-help has demolished the food kept in her care for the vulnerable and trusting child and is even poised to molest and heap up accusations against him just to cover her insidious tracks. Nsogbu ka nku-The problem has spilled over the container.
But you will notice something about the wisdom of God. It is not what happens to you that matters but your response to issues of life is what defines your environment and confirms your eternal destiny. The degree to which things were bad in Israel at the time and the enormity of Hannah’s challenges presented to her the very sure solutions to her problem. So if you prayer fully and selflessly look around you critically, you might just discover that your answers are within reach. Why not ask God to open your heart to the needs of people around you and your eyes to see God seated on His Throne superintending His world. He is able to do far more than you can ask or imagine. Hannah is a true case in point.
He is able more than able:
To accomplish what concerns me today:
He is able more than able:
To handle anything that comes my way:
He is able more than able:
To do much more than I could ever dream:
He is able more than able:
To make me what He wants me to be.
Lord, guide me today to do something for someone who cannot repay me.
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