Sunday, May 23, 2010

Prayer and Authority (6) Hannah and Samuel

The birth of Samuel is a marvellous example (1 Samuel 1:1-20). Hannah, a faithful women of God had cried out to God for a son for many years, but without success. The problem was that she did not understand what God was doing. This was a critical time in Israel, because the people would soon want a King, so God needed a prophet to speak to the nation. This prophet would eventually anoint David as King of Israel. However, God could not act, because there was no prophet and the priests were corrupt, so no one was giving him permission to act.

After some years, Hannah changed her prayers and cried out for a son who would be a man of God. This was what God wanted, so her prayers were answered immediately and Samuel was born. He went on to be one a great prophet during a pivotal time in Israel’s history. This was not just a lesson about seeking God’s will. The incident demonstrates that God needs praying people to give him authority so he can do what he wants to do.

Hannah’s prayer was quite vague. This is a reminder that we do not have to be totally precise when we pray. God will use whatever permission, he can get.

This pattern is repeated throughout the scriptures. Before God acts in a powerful way, faithful people will be praying and giving him permission to act. This even applies to the birth of the Messiah. Jesus was able to born as a baby, because people like Simeon and Anna had been praying for God to send his Messiah (Luke2:25-38).

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