Wednesday, November 11, 2009

daring prayer

Originally uploaded by Matthew San Diego
This week's scripture, from 1 Samuel, tells another story of a faithful woman; here, Hannah is a model of a faithful, prayerful follower of God.

At a time when few trusted in the mess that was their political and religious structure, Hannah's personal life is full of struggle, too. Unable to bear children, she's taunted by her husband's other wife, and haunted by her own desire for a child.

So, she does a bold thing: she prays about it. Fervently, and without the help of a priest or the interceding powers of an offering. Her prayer is so wild that the priest assumes she's drunk; after they talk, though, he affirms the power of her genuine, deep, whole-hearted prayer.

She doesn't behave as though she's entitled to what she wants; she is willing to make promises and sacrifices, too.

When her child, Samuel, is born, she sings another bold prayer. It tells of the power of a God who turns things around and upside down, inverting everything we think we know about the world.

As I read Hannah's prayers--the one where she pleaded and bargained with God and the one where she sang God's praises--I'm struck by how genuine they are. They are authentic, unmitigated, heartfelt expressions of herself. They need to polishing, no professional's help, no gold-embossed typesetting. They are real.

Perhaps this is what God is asking of us: that we would come to God with our pain and our joy, trusting in and celebrating connection to a God in whom all things are possible.


offbeatpoet said...

Question, if could be answered. I love to pray but I do not use variety of prayers. I always say the lord's prayer, and meditate on its meaning constantly. So much said in so little words. Honestly, I never know what I want but I can always say what I don't want,(no onions lol). I get concerend about asking for stuff, the lord's prayer covers that and God knows what we need. I find myself getting nervous around folks that start asking for things and that seems counter to the concepts of the Lord's prayer. Praising the lord in a variety ways is awesome but I am not too sure about multiple types of prayers when Jesus Christ taught us how to pray? I'm no theologian but I think the Lord's prayer is the only prayer in the New testament? Are those extra prayers overkill?

Im Arthur by the way.

Anonymous said...

Hannah's prayers... hummm -- Is it that prayers come true because you prayed or that you live your prayer? When we pray for food or for sons or for love ... perhaps it is how we "follow" the paths before us that determine the outcome of that prayer..?

Karen said...

Way to go, Hannah! Live your life as a prayer.


offbeatpoet said...

Forgive me. Way to be a hippie Karen and Fred you have me wondering even more now, free will versus predetermined/predestined or works versus faith. OHVA. I geuss living by the Lord's prayer your choices will be 98.9% correct.