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Friday, April 8, 2016

Women Who Pray Kingdom-building Prayers (1 Samuel 1:11)

"And she made a vow, saying, "O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life."

A period of barrenness and crushed hopes, in the Bible, almost always signals the coming of an auspicious birth. Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Manoah's wife, and Elizabeth all experienced a period of barrenness before bearing notable sons. To this list today's text adds Ruth and Hannah.

The premature death of her husband left Ruth widowed and childless. Instead of choosing to re-marry she chose the noble path of ministering to her mother-in-law's hurt and following her mother-in-law's God. Though this path seemed to offer no future opportunities for a child God smiled on her choice and brought her to the attention of Boaz and through their union produced the grandfather of Israel's greatest king. God's bigger purposes included not only the gift of a husband but the foundation of a dynasty.

I Samuel introduces us to Hannah. This poor women struggled not only in the clutches of barrenness but in the confines of a polygamous marriage. Peninnah, her rival, had no problem with fertility; she did, however, delight in provoking her barren rival. Hannah's unmet longing for a son coincided with God's purpose in giving Israel a godly priest. She wanted a son but God wanted a priest. God's granting of a child both assuaged the personal pain of her barrenness and provided Israel with a godly priest.

Even so today we may go through periods of deep longing and lack; dreams may be unfulfilled, hopes may be crushed, aspirations may be unrealized. God, however, may not be saying "no"; He may merely be saying "not yet" or "not now." God's purpose in our need is greater than simply meeting our need.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading: Ruth 3:1-4:22; 1 Chronicles 2:3-16; 1 Samuel 1:1-28
  • What does Naomi tell Ruth to do that reveals her trust in the Lord?
  • Why does the kinsman-redeemer refuse to redeem the estate?
  • Why do the elders refer to Perez and who are the offspring of Perez?
  • How long does Hannah suffer at the hands of Peninnah?
  • What does Hannah promise the LORD she would do if He gave her a son?
  • Do you think she would have prayed in this manner years before?
  • What had "waiting" done for Hannah's praying?
  • How does Eli handle Hannah's weeping?
  • What does it cost Hannah to keep her vow to the Lord?
Turning truth into prayer
Ask the LORD to convert your unanswered prayers into kingdom prayers.