Today's Bible prayer is just a few verses on from yesterdays prayer.
Yesterday we heard about Hannah’s sacrificial prayer. How she prayed for a child, a son, promising that he would be dedicated to God all of his life.
Today, Hannah has brought her young son to serve at the Tabernacle and she is going to leave him there is the care of the priest Eli. He would have been very young maybe just a few years old and you would have maybe thought that Hannah should have been sad, but she prays, expressing her gratitude to God for answering her prayer.
This prayer is in the form of a hymn or song, which makes it no less of a prayer it is still an expression of Hannah’s heart to God.
The first few lines are about how Hannah is feeling.
“The Lord has filled my heart with joy;
how happy I am because of what he has done!
In another version it says ‘My horn is lifted high’ The horn referred to is symbolic. Like the horn of an animal is strong, Hannah is saying that she feels strong because God has heard her prayer and answered her.
Next Hannah honours God by remarking that He is holy, that He is strong, reliable and everlasting. That He is the rock.
In the third verse Hannah continues to honour God by declaring that He is all-knowing and will judge all people.
Not only has God made Hannah feel strong by answering her prayer, Hannah believes this is for everyone.
In verse 5 Hannah says
'The childless wife has borne seven children,
but the mother of many is left with none.'
Seven sons is thought to be the fullest/perfect blessing for Israelite women. Did Hannah go on to have more children? Maybe. Do you remember from yesterday that Hannah was one of two wives. There is also an unfortunate Jewish legend that says that for every son that Hannah had, two of Peninnah’s children died. Peninnah being the other wife.
In the next few lines of the prayer Hannah affirms that God reigns over all things. She is saying that because he answered her prayer she knows that he is not only Lord of her life, but of the whole world.
Because God has answered her prayer, Hannah deduces that God looks out for and cares for all those who love him.
The final lines in this prayer go
The Lord will judge the whole world;
he will give power to his king,
he will make his chosen king victorious.”
At the time Israel was guided by Judges, some more successful than others. Samson was a Judge and Samual grew up to be a judge too. But the Israelites desired a king. Hannah’s final words look ahead to God choosing a king to rule over Israel but her words go further than that. They look ahead too to Jesus, to the Messiah who will judge the whole world, who will have power and will be victorious.
Hannah expressed gratitude and honour to God at a time when she could have been heartbroken.
We are living in difficult times, many of us facing grief and limitations on our freedom. We have the option to be heartbroken but we also have the option to be grateful. Grateful for what God has done for us and grateful for what we do have.
And did you know that gratitude is actually good for us? Studies have shown that gratitude improves our physical health, our mental health, helps us sleep better and improves our own self-esteem.
So tonight, like Hannah, I’m going to express my gratitude to God. What are you grateful for? Tell me in the comments.