Today’s Thoughts – Hannah poured out her soul
By Pastor Lee Hemen
May 4, 2010
In bitterness of soul, Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD…. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk…. “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD.”
(1 Samuel 1:10, 13, 15)
Hannah shows us what many fail to realize today regarding their prayers before the Lord. We think, because of our relationship with Jesus, that we can have a rather cavalier attitude concerning our prayers. We can forget that God looks at the heart, not the outside of a person. And, certainly, because of Jesus we enjoy a new relationship with God that does not require the blood of bulls, goats, or sheep; however, we can forget that God takes our prayer very seriously. He still judges the intent and therefore the contextual content can be very important.
We see that Hannah was literally “pouring out [her] soul” to God. We may earnestly pray for something, we may even vehemently ask God, but do we ever beseech God and lay it all out before him like Hannah did? I do not see folks doing that in our day and age. You see, this is literally a falling down, getting your knees dirty, kind of humiliation outpouring prayer before God. It is the deep inner gut-wrenching heart rendering crying before God’s throne because we not only desire God’s mercy, we desire him to act in spite of our selfish desires, needs, or wants.
Hannah’s prayer was not one of desperately wanting a child so she could have standing with the “in crowd” of her day. Hannah’s prayer was not so she could get Peninnah to shut up. And, Hannah’s prayer was not offered so she could get back that loving feeling of her husband. Hannah’s prayer was from the very depths of her being, her soul; all that was Hannah was being laid out before the Lord because all that was Hannah desired a child.
Now, when was the last time you earnestly prayed like that? This was no one-time occurrence with her either because evidently she had been doing this quite a while, because we see “This went on year after year” (1 Samuel 1:7). Hannah poured out her soul before the Lord for a child, when was the last time you poured out your soul for the lost? When was the last time you poured out your soul before the Lord for your ungodly nation? Sadly, we often pray such namby-pamby things in such wimpy uninspiring ways. We begin with the weak-kneed excuse of, “Jesus, if it be your will.”
Dear child of God, I challenge you to record your prayer time just one time and play it back and I believe you wouldn’t be inspired to listen to your own prayers either. Sure, I know God hears our prayers, but hearing is not acting, and I believe that God often does not act because our prayers are not from our very being. Remember, he looks at the intent of the heart. We need more pouring out of our soul in our prayers; serious, deep, genuine, earnest prayers offered to a holy and righteous God.
Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 25 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2010 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission. You now have my permission…