Text: I Samuel 1:9-18
I. I Thessalonians 5:17
A. It is a short passage, but it isn’t short on meaning. What is meant “without ceasing?”
B. Paul isn’t talking about a 24-hour a day, non-stop prayer. There are other things which must be accomplished in life.
C. He is talking about prayer where you don’t give up.
D. Such prayers are illustrated by a woman named Hannah - I Samuel 1:9-18
II. She prayed because of her anguish - I Samuel 1:10
A. Her husband had taken a second wife. She was able to have children, but Hannah could not. And she rubbed into Hannah’s face - I Samuel 1:6-7
1. While the incident recorded here happened one year, we see that Hannah prayed in a similar fashion year after year.
B. God is the One we come to in times of trouble - Psalm 46:1-3
1. He invites us to bring our trouble to Him - Psalm 50:15
2. And He will answer - Psalm 91:14-16
C. It isn’t that we only run to our Father when we are troubled, but it is a comfort to know that He is there when we need him - I Peter 5:6-7
D. When you pray, do you just pray a few times and the answer doesn’t come shrug and go on about your business? How badly do you really need help from God?
III. She offered a vow - I Samuel 1:11
A. Don’t look at this as a vain attempt to bribe God. Hannah wanted to demonstrate the lengths she would go if her prayer was answer.
1. What she vowed was within her ability to keep - Ecclesiastes 5:1-5
B. But notice that in asking for aid from God, Hannah stated she would do what she could. She wasn’t asking God to do everything while she sat back and enjoyed the benefits. She had something she could offer back to God.
1. When you pray for something, how far are you willing to go if He answers you?
2. What will you do that is truly within your ability to give back to God?
a. When you pray for strength and growth in the church, are you willing to work for it? - Ephesians 4:15-16
b. When you pray for strength to resist temptation, do you make effort to minimize your exposure? - Romans 13:14
c. When you pray for an opportunity to teach, do you go seeking those opportunities? - Colossians 4:2-4
IV. She continued to pray - I Samuel 1:12
A. Does repeating a prayer show a lack of faith or dedication to a cause?
1. Jesus prayed three times in the garden - Matthew 26:39, 42, 44
2. Paul prayed three times - II Corinthians 12:7-8
B. God desires a persistency in prayer - Luke 18:1-8
C. When you pray, how badly do you want an answer to your prayer? What are you willing to do to show it?
V. She sincerely prayed - I Samuel 1:13
A. Hannah’s prayers were not done to impress others. Her deepest desires were spoken between her and God - Matthew 6:5-6
B. It was sincerely prayed, much like Paul’s personal prayer - Romans 10:1
1. And like Hannah’s prayer, it came from his grief - Romans 9:1-3
C. Are you praying what you really want to happen?
1. Or are you praying what you think other people want you to say?
D. Psalm 20
VI. She was confident she would be answered - I Samuel 1:17-18
A. Eli wasn’t speaking from inspiration. He didn’t know God would answer her prayer. He didn’t even know what she was praying about. He just offered his hope that God would answer her prayer.
1. His assurance bolstered her – someone else believed God was listening and would answer
B. But more importantly, Hannah left and began acting as if her prayer was already answered.
C. Here was a prayer of faith, without any doubts - James 1:5-8
1. She didn’t know the answer God would give, but she was confident that God cared
D. God knows our needs better than we do ourselves - Matthew 6:8
E. Ultimately, what we know is that God’s purpose will be done and that it is His will that good results from our lives - Romans 8:28
1. It probably won’t happen the way I expect
2. But the answer will be beyond my wildest dreams being better than I had dared to hope - Ephesians 3:20
F. When you pray, are you confident that there will be an answer and no matter how it is answered, it will be better than you planned? - I Timothy 2:8; Mark 11:24
VII. Hannah received her heart’s desire - I Samuel 1:20
A. She got more than she could have expected. Her son became a priest before God, a judge of Israel, a mighty prophet, and the establisher of the kings of Israel
B. Hannah’s story is recorded for us for a reason - Romans 15:4
C. Let’s all pray in faith as Hannah did.