1 Samuel 2:1–3 ‘Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the LORD is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed.’ (v3)
Hannah returns to place her son, the fruit of her prayer, into Eli’s care for training in God’s service. Her painful petitions gave rise to his birth. It is amazing how the process of prayer can alter our whole perspective of ourselves, our world and our circumstances. This is a measure of God’s engagement with us as we pray. The Spirit is at work, and our preconceptions are changed throughout our prayer life. The woman who we first meet in a wretched state is now confidently proclaiming God’s name; her view of life is altogether different.
Prayer is one space in which God’s Spirit is always at work deep within us. This is the true work of transformation, a long word meaning ‘to change form’. In other words, as I pray I’m changing. Too often prayer is seen as something I do for God, a response, a pouring out of myself. Yet, usually unseen, there is also an in-pouring of God’s grace into my being as part of the discipleship-development programme ordered by the same Holy Spirit. Hannah’s understanding and approach has changed completely.
It’s not that she fell pregnant and had a child, but she understands something of God’s purpose for her child of promise, which she may well have missed had she simply fallen pregnant as expected. Now she could release this longed-for child to serve God. This is a reminder that prayer is always a deepening of our understanding of, and ultimately deeper surrender to, God’s purpose.
SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Deut. 12:8–11; Isa. 12; Luke 1:46–56; Phil. 3:1–14.
AN ACTION TO TAKE: What can we do when we struggle with how to pray or feel our prayer lives are lacking?
A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, change me by Your Spirit within Your school of prayer. Amen.’