“Pray continually” - I Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV)
Hannah, whom we find in I Samuel of the Bible, had a biological condition that hindered her from giving birth. In the olden days barrenness attracted all kinds of speculation, such as one having been bewitched. Interestingly, rare would the fault lay on a man- women who couldn’t give birth were at most seen as useless, and suffered much scorn. One can therefore only imagine the anguish this woman endured having suffered this condition. Besides, her a co wife Peninnah, had her own children, making it more obvious that the fault lay with her.
Peninnah, was not content in her good fortune. “Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s 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). What prevailed for Hannah, is that she had one good thing going for her- prayer. She knew the power of prayer and more so, persisting in prayer. “In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly” (vv 10). Her prayers coming from a deeply burdened heart were so intent that the priest, Eli, who saw her, even wondered if 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. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief” (vv 15-16).
Eli answered, “Go in peace, and May the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” (vv 17).
Hannah, would in time, get pregnant and give birth to Prophet Samuel.
Not all conditions have to be the same, but there are many out there who may relate to Hannah, of her deprived state and her anguish worsened by a rival who kept taunting her. In the olden days and even now when some are provoked they return the favor in the same language of abuse. Others lose faith in God, and surrender themselves to a life of bitterness. There are those who run to occult powers, since after all the Almighty God is slow in coming.
Hannah did not choose either. Rather, she went to the Lord and poured out her anguish. This should be our attitude too, whenever faced with such or even more crushing burdens.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I unburden my heart to you, that as with Hannah, you deliver and bring me the victory I long for in this situation.
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“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful” – ( 2 Timothy 4:7).
Fighting may be looked at as a non-desirable way of life, especially by those who are pacifists. In fact, throughout Christian history there are many who have literally taken Jesus’s admonition of “turn the other cheek” in Mathew 5:39, to mean nonresistance in the face of attack. The fact that Jesus rebuked the Apostle Peter for drawing a sword against his captors ( Mathew 26:52), means giving in to those who attack them, as a sign of humility.
Yes, of course there are moments where Christians must practice that humility and give in to those who attack them well remembering His word, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord” ( Romans 12:19). However, that said, Believers in Christ would be mistaken to imagine that they must not fight for their faith, whenever under attack. For in reality, the faith of believers is under constant attack from Satan, who comes to “kill and destroy” ( John 10:1).
Faced with this, Paul went at great length to advise Christians to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” ( Ephesians 6:11). To ward of constant attacks by the enemy Paul challenged us to “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” ( vv 14-17).
Paul is telling us that if you think that ours is a walk over faith where you are not going to fight back against the attacks of the enemy you are very mistaken. Fight we must, and hold our ground. The devil respects that! And when all is done, we can then gladly say, “we have fought the good fight, finished the race” and thank God Almighty we are free at last!
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise ready to resist the attacks of the enemy, by wearing the full of armor of God, and with the sword of the Spirit, fight back to victory, this I pray in Jesus’ name!