Hannah's PrayerBy John Sonneland, Healing Rooms Accountant
In recent conversations with leaders inside and outside the Healing Rooms there seems to be a level of frustration, discouragement and a strong desire for what I would call transformational breakthrough. Our lives, as those who walk with the Lord, should experience incremental breakthroughs on a daily basis. We are taking our land "little by little", step by step. There is, however, a deep groan within all of us to see our lives radically changed by the power, grace and glory of God. We know there is a greater expression of Christ yet to be revealed in and through our lives.
After I had finished with one of these conversations, I was sitting in front of my computer and a word dropped from heaven into my spirit. The word was "Hannah". As I told my church I was speaking at the next Sunday, no, it wasn't Hannah Montana. It was the Hannah that I Samuel starts with. I knew this Hannah was the answer to the cries that reside in many of us. The spirit that lived in Hannah needs to fill our spirit. Let's look at the story of this amazing woman, whose prayers led to a transformational breakthrough for her life and for the life of her nation.
We all know the story. Hannah, whose name means "favor", was tormented by Peninnah, the second wife of her husband, Elkanah. Peninnah's name means "constricted". On the surface it looks like their names were mixed up. Peninnah was the wife who was favored with many children, and Hannah was the one who was constricted. She was barren. She was not just barren, but it says in 1 Samuel 1:5-6 it was the Lord who had closed her womb.
Most people at this point would just quit. If it's the Lord who has shut this door then it's just not going to happen. I've resigned myself that this is just my lot in life, to be barren. Hannah had a different spirit. She had the same spirit Jacob had. Jacob was one who refused to let go. When he wrestled with an angel of the Lord through the night with a dislocated leg he refused to let go, even when the angel told him to. I will not let go until you bless me was Jacob's exhausted cry as he clung to the angel. Jacob experienced transformational breakthrough. His name, his very nature was changed from Jacob, a supplanter, to Israel, a prince of God. Even more amazing to me is what the angel declares to Jacob. The angel tells Jacob, "You have striven with God and man and have prevailed". How do you prevail against an all powerful God? Who has the nerve to even think of challenging God Almighty? I believe the Lord is looking for those who will go face to face with Him and allow the deepest, strongest desires of their heart to create a transforming moment in their lives. God wants us to take Him on.
How exhilarating it is when a son finally wins a "one on one" over his dad on the family driveway. Confidence is born that day. He can overcome the greatest person in his life. The son now knows he can be great like his dad. He can do the things his father does and do them even better. I was happy the day my son, Jesse, beat me in golf. A true father wants to see his sons and daughters filled with confidence when they discover the power and ability that lies within them to overcome. Our heavenly Father has the same desire. He wants us to excel and overcome all obstacles.
He has given us the desire to shape history. He has filled us with a passion to see righteousness reign in our nation and in the nations of the earth. He commands us to speak kingdom come here on earth as it is in heaven. I do not know if we understand the great depth of consecration it will take to bring about the changes we so fervently desire. We are challenging world powers of darkness. We want to dismantle principalities over our cities. We want to raise up a generation that will know the Lord and take dominion in the seven mountains of influence that rule over our culture.
Hannah gave birth to a son who would rule Israel in righteousness for over forty years. The scripture says not one word Samuel spoke ever failed. What a track record! No scandal, no failure, every word perfectly fulfilled. He was also the bridge between the Judges of Israel to Israel's greatest king, David. What kind of prayer gave birth to this kind of ruler? Hannah utters a vow of consecration out of her desperation in verse 11, "O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give unto Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head". The vow of a Nazarite. A vow of complete and total dedication all the days of his life.
Many of us may feel afflicted and tormented like righteous Lot as we watch our nation being pushed in a direction that grieves us. We may feel discouraged and run over and have a feeling of helplessness as we watch the events of our nation unfold before us. But, I believe God is using our current circumstances to refine our faith. God's plan of salvation for Israel was already underway even before Samuel was conceived. The Lord saw the moral weakness in the leadership of Israel and all He needed was one person who would cry out to Him and give Him a completely consecrated life to move through.
Hannah pushed through the continual "in your face", year after year after year, mocking of her adversary. She, like Abraham, refused to consider the deadness of her own womb and believed God would open what had once been shut. Hannah not only prevailed with God and prevailed over her adversary, but she also refused to settle for the comfort of a husband who loved her.
Elkanah loved Hannah. When it says in verse 5 that Elkanah gave a double portion to Hannah to sacrifice to the Lord the word double really means rapid breathing through the nostril. It's the intimacy of a husband and wife coming together. Elkanah was passionately in love with his wife, Hannah. Again, it would be easy at this point for Hannah to settle for this great blessing. "Well, I may not have all that I want, but I still have a husband who really loves me." But Hannah refused, like Rachel, to be comforted.
Every fiber of Hannah's being is crying out for a greater expression of who she is created to be. Her prayer is the focal point, the turning point on which the history of Israel is going to turn. Everything in Hannah is engaged. It is completely and utterly absorbed in obtaining the deepest desires that are woven into the fabric of her being. She is a woman in labor and she is going to deliver the transformational leader of her generation.
I believe God has and is putting the spirit that was in Hannah into His people today. Through the years our faith has held constant despite the unrelenting mocking of the enemy. We have refused to be satisfied with that which is good, knowing that which is greater still lies unfulfilled within us. And we have dared to come face to face with our heavenly Father asking, seeking and knocking for wombs of promise to be opened and transformational leaders to be brought forth in the full glory and splendor of their King.