Have you ever prayed from the depths of your soul, even to the point of pleading with God? Samuel’s mother Hannah did.
10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. 11 Then she made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life… 1 Samuel 1:10-11 NKJV
Hannah was praying at the altar during the yearly pilgrimage and sacrificial feast. She was yearning for a child after many years of trying. Her rival, who did have children, provoked her about it constantly. This upset Hannah enough that she would not even eat at the feast.
The head priest, Eli, saw her mumbling and crying at the altar. He thought she was drunk from the feast and rebuked her.
15 But Hannah answered and said, “No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. 1 Samuel 1:15 NKJV
Eli told her to go in peace, for the Lord had heard her prayer. Hannah believed, and went back to the feast in peace.
20 So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked for him from the Lord.” 1 Samuel 1:20 NKJV
Hanna poured out her soul before the Lord, and He heard her earnest prayer. She then gave birth to one of the great prophets of the Old Testament.
Looking back on my life, I can recall two times that I prayed with such intensity and tears. Both times I was shocked to receive an almost instant, miraculous answer from the Lord.
The first was for a group of people in a dire situation. I was a teenager at the time and was overcome with concern for this group that was trapped underwater and near death. I went upstairs to my bedroom, and begged God with tears and prayers for their assistance. After a time, I wiped my tears and started down the stairs. Half-way down the stairs, I heard a breaking news bulletin on the television that the people had suddenly been freed. Two men had died, but two men lived.
The second time was more personal. I was at a prison ministry event and many men were coming to Christ. It was a remarkable evening service, and I commented so to my roommate Solomon afterwards at the motel. Those were among the few words we had shared, as I did not know him well, and he was coming in late as I was about to fall asleep.
The next morning, I told Solomon that he was welcome use the shower first. While he was showering, I was overcome with that same intense emotion as before, this time for the salvation of my mother. The night before, inmates had been coming forward to receive Christ in great numbers, a harvest that I had not seen before or since, but I was overcome with a sad emotion because my own mother did not know the Lord. I was gripped by intense anguish and tearfully poured out my soul before the Lord.
After awhile, I heard Solomon coming out of the shower, so I began to wipe the tears from my face. Solomon came over and told me the following:
“While I was in the shower, the Lord spoke to me. He said that you were out here praying for a relative. I don’t know if it was a father or a mother, a sister or a brother, but he told me that He heard your prayer”.
I was able to share this with my parents shortly before my father passed, and my mother is also now with the Lord, as well.
Can you remember a time when you prayed to God from the very depths of your soul? What was the result?
God is sovereign and answers our prayers for our benefit. The answer may be yes, no, or wait until later, but we can be sure that His answer will be the best one for us, and for our life going forward.
May the Lord bless you today in whatever yearning, heartache or sadness you may be facing.
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:26,28 NKJV