Women at Work: The Praying Woman

Bible Reading: I Samuel 1:9–20 For this boy I prayed, and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of Him. I Samuel 1:27 (NASV) It was in God’s eternal plan to raise up the man Samuel—the judge, the prophet, the anointer of the first king of Israel and the founder of the school of prophets. But there was something more in that eternal plan which is often overlooked and that was the prayer of Samuel’s mother poured out from great heaviness of soul. God could have caused the birth of Samuel in a normal course of events. But He chose a different route. He wanted a certain woman named Hannah to realize her complete dependence upon God to fulfill the deepest desires of her heart. He wanted her tears, her intense pleading, her vow of dedication and her song of thankfulness. Hannah’s prayer was also in God’s plan.               We believe in a sovereign God who works all things according to His will and that fact gives us great comfort. But what we sometimes forget is that within this sovereign plan, there is a human response for which God is looking. Our prayers, our tears, our pleadings are also in His plan as were Hannah’s. What we see in the account of Hannah’s prayer and the birth of Samuel is a beautiful wedding between divine sovereignty and human responsibility, and that union is still in tact. Therefore “pray without ceasing” for “your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him” (Matt. 6:8). But “you do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2). So – ask, and “believing, you shall receive” (Matt. 21:22). Laurie Vanden Heuvel