December 10, 2019
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 10 December 2019
Have you thought recently with regard to the manner in which you pray to God? The prayer of Hannah may be found in 1 Samuel 1:11. Hannah’s prayer is noteworthy for her liberty. There was nothing external or formal regarding her prayer. Hannah certainly knew the freedom to outpour her soul to God.
Similarly, the psalmist prayed, “I cry aloud with my voice to the LORD; I make supplication with my voice to the LORD. I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare my trouble before Him. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, You knew my path” (Ps 142:1-3a). Hannah is an example of how to have communion with God.
Outpouring one’s soul to God will not make Him uncomfortable, but believers should recognize the reality that God allows his people to outpour their distresses to Him (and with tears and intense sobbing if necessary). Indeed, spiritual victory was realized through the voice of her weeping (cf. Ps 6:8).
Eli’s false accusation of Hannah (1 Sam 1:14) later became a blessing (1:17). Hannah knew God heard her prayer, and she returned to her family from the Tabernacle (1:18). God indeed answered Hannah’s prayer with the birth of Samuel (1:19-20).
Have you also thought recently with regard to the manner in which you give to God? First Samuel 1:21-28 is focused upon the fulfillment of Hannah’s vow (1:11). Knowing a mother’s love for her child, Elkanah was hesitant (1:23). Hannah was determined to give to the Lord what He had given in answer to her prayer. Hannah is an example that God’s gifts should be given to Him.
Four times in her dedication (1:27-28), Hannah used a form of a Hebrew root (“to ask”) which would be translated as follows: “For this boy I prayed, and the LORD has given me my asking which I asked of Him. ‘So I have also dedicated what was asked to the LORD; as long as He lives he is asked to the LORD” (cf. asking in Matt 7:7 and Jas 4:2-3).
Her words recall Eli’s benediction: “may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him” (1 Sam 1:17). Even the naming of Samuel (“Because I have asked him of the LORD”) is a wordplay of the Hebrew root. Hannah recalled God’s blessing and then returned Samuel to the Lord. Hannah is an example of receiving God’s grace, and with such blessing, to have the capability of returning to God the gifts that He gives. Certainly, she is an example of praying not merely for herself, but with entire commitment to God for everything in life.
What Hannah desired most from the Lord, she was willing to give to Him. God’s blessing provides the capability of returning to Him what is received by his grace to be used for his glory; it is more important that God’s gifts be his than yours and mine.
As those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, do we regard God’s blessings and his grace towards our nation to be opportunities to glorify Him? As believers, we give what we cannot keep to retain what can never be taken from us.
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia
Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.