PROVOKED TO PRAY

Posted: July 25, 2012 in Books, Christianity, Education, Family, History, Life, Lifestyle, News, Parenting, Quotes, Uncategorized

“And because the LORD had closed her womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat.”

– 1 Samuel 1:6-7 NIV

The story of Hannah, in 1 Samuel, is a great illustration of what Ephesians 6:12 teaches about our struggle not being against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Hannah wants to have a child, but the LORD has closed her womb. Some would suggest God is against her. Because the LORD has closed her womb, her rival, Peninah, intentionally provokes Hannah to irritate her because she could not bear a child. In fact, if you read this passage closely, it says that this went on year after year while they attended church! It appears God and Peninah are against Hannah. What I have learned from reading the story of Hannah is that the external conflict Peninah caused Hannah by intentionally seeking to provoke her was not the source of her conflict. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood.

How Hannah chooses to handle her conflict is a great model for us when we face various conflicts in life, even when it appears God is against us too. According to 1 Samuel 1:9, Hannah takes a stand deciding she was going to take her conflict to the only One who could help her. This is significant, because those who would see God being against Hannah by closing her womb would see Hannah going directly to the source of her problem. This tells me that Hannah does not see God being against her, but she sees Him as the source of her solution to what she sees as the opposition to her condition. “Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on a chair by the doorpost of the LORD’S temple.” – 1 Samuel 1:9 NIV Despite the years of torment from her rival, Peninah, and the futility and frustration of not being able to conceive, Hannah, takes a stand in her circumstances and takes her concern to God.

“In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD.” – 1 Samuel 1:10 NIV During Hannah’s time spent in prayer, the bible uses words/phrases like bitterness of soul, misery, deeply troubled, great anguish and grief in relation to the state of Hannah’s soul. During the years of Peninah’s provoking, Hannah stopped eating which would also indicate she suffered from depression. In all that Hannah prayed, the bible does not mention that Hannah talked about Peninah. Hannah’s focus during prayer remained on the condition of her soul, how she felt emotionally, and what she desired, a child. Hannah’s struggle internally with bitterness, misery, great anguish, trouble, grief and depression, are great illustrations of the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms that can prohibit us from experiencing the fullness of life Christ came for us to have. Eventually, Hannah began to eat again and later conceived! Hannah persevered and relinquished her distress to God until God relieved her of her duress. Cast your cares and anxieties on Him because He cares for you and wants to satisfy your desires with good things!

May God bless you and help you to cast all of your cares and anxieties upon Him, believing He cares for you, so you may experience the fullness of life Christ came for us to have.

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