Increasing Hope

1 Samuel 1:10-18   10 Deeply hurt, Hannah prayed to the LORD and wept with many tears.  11 Making a vow, she pleaded, “LORD of Hosts, if You will take notice of Your servant’s affliction, remember and not forget me, and give Your servant a son, I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and his hair will never be cut.”  12 While she was praying in the LORD’s presence, Eli watched her lips.  13 Hannah was speaking to herself, and although her lips were moving, her voice could not be heard. Eli thought she was drunk14 and scolded her, “How long are you going to be drunk? Get rid of your wine!”  15 “No, my lord,” Hannah replied. “I am a woman with a broken heart. I haven’t had any wine or beer; I’ve been pouring out my heart before the LORD.  16 Don’t think of me as a wicked woman; I’ve been praying from the depth of my anguish and resentment.”  17 Eli responded, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant the petition you’ve requested from Him.”  18 “May your servant find favor with you,” she replied. Then Hannah went on her way; she ate and no longer appeared downcast.

 

Children bring us such joy – be they our children, grandchildren, or any other children God chooses to bring into our lives. Children bring us joy because they are walking, talking expressions of our hope in tomorrow. We hope that our children will thrive where we struggled. We hope that our children will walk in holiness in the places where we were stuck in our selfishness. A father who was a star athlete in college hopes to one day see his own child race to victory on the field.

Hope is so important to the Christian life. We reject the momentary pleasures of sin for a season as we hope for greater treasures in eternity with Christ. We reach out to the lost in anticipation of the salvation of their souls. We give to those in our church (even those who are prickly and crass) because we hope in spending eternity with them as the bride of Christ.

Since hope is so important, the moment your hope begins to falter you should rush to the Lord in prayer. In I Samuel 1 we come across a woman whose soul was in tattered, but her hope was restored through her prayer to God and the words of encouragement by a priest of the LORD. When grief overtakes your spirit, bring your grief before the LORD in prayer and ask others to pray over your needs.

Lay Out Your Grief and Sorrow Before Your God

Hannah’s prayer is simply shocking. She is so lost in her shame of her inability to carry a child that she is willing to give up anything to become a mother. She is even willing to give up her child as a full-time servant of God. That is pure desperation.

Desperation that comes out in her words and her emotions. She is so troubled that Eli the High Priest thinks that she has come to the Tabernacle drunk. Could she have been sweating, stumbling around in her pain? Did her mumbled words look like someone who couldn’t even get a word out in their intoxication? Hannah’s grief brought her to the point where she didn’t care how she appeared before others. She lost hope in herself and in her standing and threw herself upon the Lord.

In your loss pour everything out before the Lord. Don’t hold back your feelings, your despair, or your longings. God wants you when you pray. He doesn’t want a cleaned up superficial version of you who acts like everything is fine when it is not. Come to God in your emptiness, so He can fill you with His mercy.

Call on Another to Carry Your Grief

For me this is the real key to increasing your hope in prayer. Don’t pray alone. Call out to others to pray. Hannah didn’t even intend to bring Eli the priest into her prayers. It was just by chance and Eli’s observations that he was brought into her despair, but I think Eli’s short blessing in vs. 17 meant more to Hannah than Eli could have ever know.

Allow others to come into your loss and your pain, so they can uplift you in pray and encourage you with God’s grace. Our God is the God of hope, the God of healing, and forgiveness. No relationship is too far gone for Him to repair. No body too broken for Him to repair. No financial burden too large for Him to overcome, so bring others into your prayer to pray God’s goodness and mercy into your life. You never know – their words may be the exact words you need to hear that day.