We know as believers that God does not always answer our prayers as WE see fit, but rather as HE sees fit. We learn, hopefully, to recognize the no’s as well as the yeses, and even to accept the seasons where no answers seem forthcoming as times to wait on God. But the truth is, God does often answer our prayers in the affirmative, especially as we grow and our desires are more aligned with his. How often though, do we move on too quickly instead of lingering in the beauty and grace of that answered prayer?
Hannah prayed fervently for a son, a prayer which God heard and answered with the birth of Samuel. Her response to God’s blessing is stirring. She remembers not only what she prayed for, but also the commitment she made, to give her son back to God. We might think that’s a tall order and an over-the-top commitment. How could she pray all those years for a son only to turn him over to strangers at such a tender age? But her prayer shows she was living in God’s response to her prayers. Following through on her commitment seems to deepen her connection to God.
I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. I Samuel 1:27-28a
For years, I prayed to be able to do life differently, i.e. to quit work and stay home. Write. Cook. Clean. Garden. Etc. And now that’s exactly what I’m doing. Only sometimes my attitude is nothing like Hannah’s! I find myself complaining about the very thing I prayed for, as unforeseen obstacles present themselves, and the path is sometimes not what I expected. Life is funny like that. But Hannah’s story inspired me to present this season of my life to God, with a new and fervent prayer:
I prayed for this life, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give this life to the LORD.
I long to linger in the reality that God has heard and answered my prayers. And I want to live deeply connected to this God who holds the desires of my heart in his hand.