It had been one of those weeks. Sometimes I had felt as if I could hardly breathe. I had been weepy and my emotions were raw. Usually, when I feel this way it is because I was tired from lack of sleep or exhausted from traveling or even tired from doing “good” things that I knew were worthwhile.
Sometimes I felt something else was going on. It involved the spiritual realm; I knew God was up to something involving me in some way especially if I was being obedient to God’s leading. A spiritual battle was raging and I felt the pressure. Often it was simply because I was joining forces with other prayer warriors to pray hard for someone or something. Such had been the case that week.
The Lord “blessed” me with a heart that feels the pain of others. Someone cries. I join in. Perhaps, you do too. In this particular week during Bible Study on the death of Jesus Christ…I cried. A guest speaker for our Women’s group told of her story of being trapped in human trafficking…I cried. My sister called to tell me her pregnant daughter in law had cancer and the doctor wanted to abort the baby…I cried. As I was writing this…I cried.
So this had been an emotional week but through it all, Father God had surrounded me with His presence and His love and given me reminders that He is the one in charge of all. He had it all taken care of and I was simply to do my part…so I cried.
We want everything to be sunshine and roses and then we feel blessed. Life is not supposed to be hard or so we think. What happens when we get sick with a disease such as cancer, or a loved one dies, or there is a divorce in the family and they are hurting or hurt from other heart rending tragedy? Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people when evil people seem to be prospering?
We do not know the answers this side of heaven but God knows and He loves us in spite of the circumstances. He surrounds us daily with His presence to give us peace, if we but open our eyes to see. God’s ways are not our ways.
He reminds me daily that He is there and sometimes even shows me His presence by giving me a “special delight” to thrill my heart. That very day. He showed me two delights! My first special delight: the great blue heron flew overhead as I was headed to church to hear the guest speaker I mentioned. This great bird has always been a special thing between Father and myself to remind me that Jesus was resurrected from the dead (the heron/phoenix was a symbol of resurrection to first century believers). The second special delight: a double rainbow after the storm that passed over during the woman’s talk. He showed me He loves me and hears my prayers. He is El Shama-God who hears me. God is good all the time! All the time, God is good!
He hears our prayers. He hears us when we pray fervently in times of trouble.
The story of Hannah in 1 Samuel 1: 9-20 is an inspirational story of fervent prayer and God hearing. Read the story for yourself from the listed passage.
Hannah was a barren woman who pleaded to God for a son. She prayed and she prayed hard for a child. As was the custom, Hannah traveled with her husband and his other wife each year to worship and sacrifice to the Lord. Year after year Hannah would weep and become downtrodden. After numerous reminders by the other wife that Hannah was barren while she had given their husband numerous children, Hannah could take no more.
On this particular year, Hannah went to the temple and in great anguish and mourning for the barrenness of her womb, lay on the altar and again prayed for a son. She was so sorrowful, her lips were moving but no words came out of her mouth.
Eli, the priest, observed Hannah’s behavior and thought she was drunk. Hannah told him of her great grief and that she was praying for a child. God blessed Hannah with a son and she called his name Samuel because “I have asked the Lord for him.” The very name Samuel means “heard by God or God hears”. When we pray, God listens.
This beautiful story of a woman who so desperately wanted a son reminds us that God does hear our prayers and He will answer. His answers may not be the way we want but even when He says no, He knows the divine plan He has for our life. He knows what is best not just for us but what is best of all of those around us according to His divine plan for each life.
Prayers matter and the fervent prayers of God’s people joined together to petition His grace make a difference. It is El Shama Himself, Yahweh who hears. It is He who heals the hurts, the agony and the pain we feel. He is the giver of peace.
As for the child of my nephew’s wife, before the knowledge came of a treatment, before the assurance this little one would have the opportunity to safely grow in the womb, God heard the prayers of his mother and the fervent prayers of the many who were praying for him. And although this precious woman with cancer lost her battle, she delivered a perfectly whole little boy who is growing strong. This child, a son, was given a name. His name is called Samuel. God hears. And I cried.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God.” Phil 4: 6
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8: 26-27