Day 78: Praying specifics

When being introduced to new people sometimes it’s nice to have something interesting said about yourself such as,

“Oh, Ashley. Yeah, she’s from America.”

“She’s getting her Masters at Nottingham Trent.”

or even

“She’s a Caffe Nero fanatic, too.”

These are all effective ways at breaking the ice for me as well as the person I am being introduced to. They aren’t anything too deep or revealing. They are things most people would know from casual conversation.

But, what if when someone was introducing me to a new person he or she said,

“Hey, this is Ashley. She’s really praying for this man of God. Yeah, that one over there. Been praying about this for a long time now.”

I would be absolutely mortified. Not that what was said about me wasn’t true but rather an extremely intimate fact about my prayer life was just put on the table for all to see. It would make me feel vulnerable, exposed, labelled.

Hannah, the wife of Elkanah, is introduced in Scripture with the following: “Hannah had no children.” (1 Samuel 1:2).

Now I can imagine there was quite a bit of shame and pain attached to this label for Hannah. There was absolutely nothing wrong with her not having a child, but this statement revealed a deeper truth about herself. One that most people wouldn’t know caused her to stay up at night in tears, or that had tortured her heart when she saw other women with their toddlers.

Year after year, Hannah prayed and prayed for a child. This was her heart’s greatest desire. She wanted a son, the inheritance of the Lord.

Time after time, Hannah petitioned the throne of God while in the temple. She pleaded for a son. “She, greatly distressed, prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly.” (1 Samuel 1:10).

Hannah was praying so fervently that she didn’t realize she was being watched by two. The first was Eli. Eli, watching Hannah’s mouth move but without hearing any words, accused her of being drunk.

Hannah replied to Eli saying she was “a woman oppressed in spirit” and that she had been pouring our her soul before the Lord. She was speaking to her God out of her “great concern” and “provocation”.

Hannah had a cause, and she was not relenting.

I find great encouragement in the truth that Hannah was also being watched by God. Verse 20 reads, “It came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son”. While her praying and praise could have ended with her receiving the petition of her heart, Hannah went on to dedicate her son to the Lord and naming him Samuel which means “name of God”.

Samuel’s very name was a reminder to Hannah of God’s mercy and faithfulness.

While all of our heart’s prayers might not be met with the same answers, I believe we can approach the throne of God with the boldness of praying specifics.

Hannah asked for a son. She pleaded with God for a son.

The lesson of Hannah’s fervent prayers isn’t to pray for a specific gender in a child or to pray prayers of selfish desire.

When I read about Hannah, I see a woman who believed in the faithfulness of God and the power in prayer. She didn’t back away when her prayers went unanswered for years. No, she kept at it. She wouldn’t cease until the Lord recognized her plea. She knew the Lord was able, and she believed He could give her the desires of her heart.

If you are seeking God, and if you are praying in line with His will, I believe we can pray specifically. Pray for a husband or a wife. Pray for that ministry opportunity. Pray for the funds to go on the mission trip.

Pour your soul out before the Lord and share with Him your heart. He’s the God who inclines His ear to hear our cries (Psalm 116:2), and He longs to give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4). Believe on Him again and praise Him through it all.

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