One night during the last war, while our family were huddled together during a bombing raid, I remember distinctly crying to God in silent prayer to spare all our lives and in return I would give Him mine. God heard and answered that prayer although it was some ten years later before I made good my promise to Him. Since then I have never doubted the power of prayer, knowing that nothing lies beyond its reach, except that which lies outside the will of God.
Another woman who made a covenant with God was Hannah of whom we read in 1Samuel chapter1 Hannah is portrayed to us as a God-fearing woman, with an unblemished character, who maintained constant communion with God in prayer and worship; but the pressure of an unfulfilled desire obsessed her for, deep down in her heart, she craved the blessing of a child – “But the Lord had shut up her womb” 1Samuel 1:5
Barrenness, to a Hebrew woman, was often regarded as a sign of God’s disfavour, a belief which helps us to understand her deep anguish and sorrow. She had a godly husband who loved her dearly but this blessing failed to compensate Hannah for the absence of a child in the home. You also may have a spiritual desire yet unfulfilled, some secret longing or pressing need that causes you to become fretful and frustrated because you see no end or answer in sight and are overwhelmed in spirit as you trace no evidences of God’s presence or plan in it all. Remember Romans 8:28 and rest in the knowledge that what you cannot understand God can. He will work the miracle.
There is healing in the power of prayer for every kind of fret, and in Psalm 37:4 we have a wonderful antidote for every care or need. “Delight thyself in the Lord and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” It stands to reason that if God is your delight, your desires will be right ones, God-honouring like Hannah’s. Hannah truly made the Lord her delight and never permitted her sorrow and disappointment to keep her from the place of prayer, where she found the heart of God a comforting retreat for her soul.
God granted Hannah her petition, but not before she was permitted to pass through the valley of tears, a place so familiar to most of us. Many women have to live and work in circumstances that are not easy. Hannah had an adversary called Peninnah who took great delight in provoking her sore and causing her to fret – “therefore she wept and could not eat” (ver.7).
Could this be your experience today? Like Hannah your have felt the hurt of cruel words spoken against you unjustly, let down by some you have loved and trusted, misunderstood when you sought to do good. Faith is dimmed, discouragement has taken hold of you and you feel ready to give up! The valley of tears is not meant to be a stopping place but a passing through experience from which the Lord is seeking to bring fruitfulness into your life.
God’s vindications are worth waiting for! It is a great thing to put God between the soul and its need, as Hannah did in verse 12 where we see her still praying while still barren, still believing and still trusting while circumstances remained unchanged. Hannah, in faith, took her particular need to God in prayer and was soon to prove that with God all things are possible. God came in right there as Hannah prayed and filled her soul with peace and assurance that her prayer was heard. She returned home, hope filling her heart – and waited! Her countenance was no more sad. The silent prayer of a sorrowing soul moved the heart of a Sovereign God and granted her petition.
“For this .... I prayed and the Lord granted me my petition” 1Samuel chapter one verse 27
“Unanswered yet? – the prayer your lips have pleaded! In agony of soul these many years? Doth faith begin to fail, is hope departing, And think you all in vain those falling tears? Say not the Father hath not heard your prayer. You shall have your desire sometime, somewhere. ” (Mrs. Ophelia G. Adams)
This article was written by Phyllis and published under the title "PETITION GRANTED" some years ago. After many years of faithful service in the Lord’s work Phyllis is now very seriously ill in a nursing home. I am sure she would want this to be a blessing and means of encouragement to all who read it. Bob Watson