Hannah’s Prayer and The Power of God

In today’s Bible Reading, I came upon the prayer of Hannah in 1 Samuel 2. I will let the whole prayer speak for itself. It’s a handcuff. It makes you stay in your corner, tapes your mouth and forces you to think.

1 Samuel 2:1 And Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the LORD; my strength is exalted in the LORD. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation.
2 “There is none holy like the LORD; there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.
3 Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.
4 The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble bind on strength.
5 Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn.
6 The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
7 The LORD makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts.
8 He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s, and on them he has set the world.
9 “He will guard the feet of his faithful ones, but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness, for not by might shall a man prevail.
10 The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; against them he will thunder in heaven. The LORD will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king and exalt the power of his anointed.”

(1Sa 2:1-10 ESV)

Reflect, my friend. More on this tomorrow.

What Happens When We Can’t Pray

Have you ever been in so much trouble, you bothered not to pray because you are ever so convinced that the Lord grows tired of listening to you? Richard Sibbes in my recent reading gave a balm to my troubled soul.

A Christian complains he cannot pray. `Oh, I am troubled with so many distracting thoughts, and never more than now!’ But has he put into your heart a desire to pray? Then he will hear the desires of his own Spirit in you. `We know not what we should pray for as we ought’ (nor how to do anything else as we ought), but the Spirit helps our infirmities with `groanings which cannot be uttered’ (Rom. 8:26), which are not hid from God. `My groaning is not hid from thee’ (Psa. 38:9). God can pick sense out of a confused prayer. These desires cry louder in his ears than your sins. Sometimes a Christian has such confused thoughts that he can say nothing but, as a child, cries, `O Father’, not able to express what he needs, like Moses at the Red Sea. These stirrings of spirit touch the heart of God and melt him into compassion towards us, when they come from the Spirit of adoption, and from a striving to be better.

And so are you struggling and making means so much to make your prayers formal and eloquent when you are in grief, or pain or trouble? The venerable Richard Sibbes gives this thought to us:

`Oh, but is it possible’, thinks the misgiving heart, `that so holy a God should accept such a prayer?’ Yes, he will accept that which is his own, and pardon that which is ours. Jonah prayed in the fish’s belly (Jon. 2:1), being burdened with the guilt of sin, yet God heard him. .. But look at the promises: `Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee’ (Psa. 50:15). `Ask, and it shall be given you’ (Matt. 7:7) and others like these. God accepts our prayers, though weak, because we are his own children, and they come from his own Spirit; because they are according to his own will; and because they are offered in Christ’s mediation, and he takes them, and mingles them with his own incense (Rev. 8:3).

The Bruised Reed and Smoking Flax

by Richard Sibbes.