One of the most important and memorable prayers I have ever prayed is Hannah’s prayer found in 1 Samuel 1:10-11. In this passage we see a grieved, barren Hannah desperately pouring out her heart to the Lord for the thing she most wanted – a son. Like Hannah, I, too, had found myself in a place of desperation, except I was barren of purpose, and I was desperate for anything God had for me.
“Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord. And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.” 1 Samuel 1:10-11
It was shortly after my husband and I had followed his amazing (and much prayed for) job to a new city, hours from home. I had been looking for a job for almost a year, and vying for acceptance into my master’s program for more than two years. We did not have any children at the time, and weren’t even sure it was a possibility for us. But I was closely following the Lord for the first time in my life and knew that a break though was bound to come.
But as I continued to pray, after years of seeking, I felt farther than ever from the answers I sought. I came to a place where I had no prayers left to pray. Drained of purpose and void of hope, with worship music playing in the background, I laid face first on my living room floor and wept. My last-ditch-effort, promise-laden words, “God… if you have anything for me… ANYTHING… please… I will honor you wholly and I will give it back to You.”
With my soul stripped of any self-empowerment and my emotions raw with desperation, I laid there until I got every thought and word out of my anguished heart, and I wholeheartedly submitted myself, not to God’s answers to my prayers, but to God Himself. I was finally in a place where I was done asking for what I wanted – I just wanted God and all He had.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 NLT
Looking back on that prayer now, after today filled with a vibrant 18-month-old boy and exciting vision sharing with kindred leaders at my church, I could have never imagined the joy I would reap sowing my prayer seeds of sorrow. But since that prayer, and the answer-filled weeks that followed, I know that when we position ourselves and our desires at the feet of God, He will lift our heads, not to see our answers to our prayers, but to see His best for us, which is far beyond what we can imagine.
While prayer, in and of itself, forces us to set aside our natural pride and realize that we need something, Someone, greater than us to intervene in our issues, the physical, and more importantly, spiritual positions of humility that we take as we pray can impact our prayer life in an undeniable way. When we humble our hearts and lives at God’s feet, we can finally recognize Him as the only One who can bring our best to fruition.
“…He crowns the humble with victory.” Psalms 149:4
Our meekness in the work we do and the prayers we pray ushers in His mightiness and the wonders He wants to perform in our lives. When we humbly submit to His Lordship – to the power He possesses and the person He is – He will lift us up to the places He can use our submission the most.
In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed a prayer very similar to Hannah’s. Though His prayer was never answered, He humbly submitted to the Father’s will, “for the joy set before him.” We, too, are promised a greater joy, one that far exceeds life’s hardships, when we place our desires secondary to the will of the One with the greater plan.
“…For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 NIV
Regardless of the current circumstances of our lives, our God has a greater plan awaiting each of us. Though we may face trials for a short time, when we humbly and adamantly seek the mighty power of God, we are promised that our endurance will be met with a crown of unfading glory, and every pain and tear will be met by a caring Father who has a divine design for our unique and purposed lives.
“And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. …Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:4, 6-7 ESV
21 DAYS OF PRAYER IS FOR YOU
If you sense God has more for your life, 21 Days of Prayer is a great place to start believing Him for all that He has for you. As you practice seeking Him first, He will move on your behalf like never before. You will start to see the power of prayer impact your relationships, work, family, and every area of your life. Whether you join us in person or online, we would love for you to be part of 21 Days of Prayer.
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Elle was raised in Mobile, Alabama, where she met and married her husband, Hayden. Since becoming a full-time mom to their little boy, Ethan, God has grown in her a burden for women, especially moms. Elle loves using her spiritual gifts to encourage other women, particularly in a spiritual setting.