Ep034: Are you Drunk or Praying?

Hi, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me.”

In our survey of Old Testament stories, today we look at the family of Samuel the prophet. Samuel’s father, Elkanah, had two wives. One was Peninnah who had sons and daughters. The other wife was Hannah and she had no children. This made Hannah very sad, even though Elkanah said to her, “Why are you so downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”  For Hannah, the clear answer was, “Not really,” but she held her tongue, because there are some things men just don’t understand.

Each year when the family visited the temple in Shiloh, Peninnah provoked and irritated Hanna. One year, Hannah took her bitterness and anguish to God, weeping and praying at the temple. She said, “God, look at my misery. Remember me, don’t forget me. If you give me a son, I will raise him to serve you.”  Eli, the priest, saw her praying and thought she was drunk. (Did I mention that sometimes men just don’t get it?) Eli said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”

Hanna said she wasn’t drunk, she was praying. Eli said, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” Not long after, the Lord remembered Hannah: she conceived and gave birth to Samuel, which means, “God has heard.”

Some lessons on prayer from this story:

1.    First, dysfunctional families are not a modern invention, though bigamy like Hannah experienced is not the norm today. Like Hannah, you may need to pray through bitterness and pain and irritation that attends your family relationships.    

2.    Second, the ability to have children is a gift from God, but he doesn’t give that gift to everyone. And not everyone who has received children from God is happy with the result. Whether you have no children, good children, or bad children it is important to bring your feelings on the topic to God.

3.    Third, if your priest or minister misunderstands your situation and maybe even thinks you’re drunk, give the poor pastor a chance. They’re only human, but if they are true servants of God, they will see their mistake and bless you when they hear your prayer.

4.    And finally, bookmark your Bible with Samuel’s name, with the promise that “God has heard”.  Our God is a listening God. He hears your weeping and in his time he will bring you joy.

Let’s pray.
Our father, so often what we want most in life is something you aren’t giving us. Our comforters may say, “Am I not better than 10 sons?” but they do not understand the importance of what we ask. Others mistake our prayers for too much wine or for lack of faith. Give us grace to live patiently with our troubles, and to live graciously with those who don’t understand them. And give us patience to keep praying until you intervene, until we find the faith and wisdom and courage to change ourselves, or to receive changes from you.

I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.

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