During the month of November, I am writing about prayer. Prayer is the most personal way you can talk with the God that created you. You were meant to pray. You were meant to talk with God. Today I highlight a heartbroken woman and her honest prayers.
Deep forever grief. Doubled over in half crying. Laying on a bed sobbing. Years and years of disappointment. Waiting and waiting on the LORD and nothing. Been there? Yeah, me too.
Do you feel like you have to bear your sorrow alone and not tell the LORD your sadness? Do you feel like you have to wait until you feel happy and then you can go to church again? Do you feel like one more month of no baby, no husband, no job, or no relief from your pain will break you? Do you faithfully ask God for your heart’s desire and it is not happening?
You are not alone. There are actually quite a few women in the Bible who experienced sorrow. Let’s look at the story of a woman named Hannah. (Read 1 Samuel 1 for the entire story.) Hannah wanted a baby, but could not have one. Her husband loved her, but did not understand her longing. (Ever feel like the people around you misunderstand your hopes and dreams? You are not the first one.) Read 1 Samuel 1:10-18.
In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on 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.
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 are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”
“Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.
First and foremost, what is Hannah doing in this story? She is at the temple and praying. Even in your grief and sorrow, do not give up on church and do not give up on praying.
Do your prayers sound muffled, small, and simple? Did you used to pray big and bold, and now you pray for simple survival? That is okay. Keep praying. Hannah’s prayer had come to the point of begging, but she was praying.
This is my point. Keep praying. God will continue to change your heart in your muffled, confused, disappointed prayers. There will come a day when you begin to see what God is doing through and for you. We can assume that at some point Hannah prayed for babies, but by the time we meet Hannah, she is praying for God to give her a son that will serve Him. Samuel needed to be born at the exact moment he was born. He needed to grow up in the temple. He was the prophet to Saul and the anointer of David. No one else could do that job. The world needed Samuel, and God needed Hannah to be willing to give Samuel up to His service.
We are worth the churning- the tug and pull of our will against God’s. There was a time in my life where I could barely wake up and do life. I went through about a year of feeling so unsettled. I was depressed. But, every day I woke up and looked out the window and prayed Psalm 130- every day for about nine months. I thought I was praying for a husband and not to feel lonely. However, through the churning and searching, I began to feel like God was calling me to move and start over- no husband, still lonely, but following His plan. It felt good. The depression fog had lifted.
The churning feeling you have inside is the Holy Spirit calling you closer to Him. Go after that feeling and know that the sadness will not last forever. If you continue to pray through the tears, you will get through to the other side. If you stop praying, bitterness will take root and you become even more heartbroken.
God loves you. He wants nothing more than for you to be with Him. He sees your tears. He wants your words of disappointment, anger, and sadness because it means you are continuing to admit He is God and you are not.
Write your words of sadness, of disappointment, and of hurt. Open your Bible. Go to church this week.
You will get through this valley. You will. You are not alone. Let me close with a portion of Psalm 130:5-7. Take out Israel and put your name in its place.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than those who watch for the morning—
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord.
What are Bible verses you find Hope-filled and would love to share? Please comment below.