Rise Up Like Hannah

The name Hannah is a palindrome because it is read the same backwards and forwards. Like her palindrome name, she demonstrated her steadfast faith when she was feeling down and in anguish and when she was rejoicing after receiving an answer to her prayers. Hannah was a faithful woman no matter which way you look at her life, backwards or forwards. She trusted God and acknowledged His power and goodness when she was praying for a son, when she had her son, when she felt an intense grief, and when she felt exuberant joy.

Hannah was facing difficult and challenging circumstances that turned her to the Lord in persistent prayer. She was one of two wives of Elkanah—the other was Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none. Peninnah kept provoking Hannah because of that. Nowadays, we would say that Peninnah was bullying her. Hannah felt discouraged and anguished. Despite this difficult family situation, she prayed and wept for a son, promising to dedicate him to God.

She received an answer to her prayer—in 1 Samuel 1:17 Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” Hannah then gave birth to Samuel and presented him to God, just as she had promised. 1 Samuel 2:21 says, “The boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.”

God not only blessed Hannah with the birth of Samuel, but He also gave her three more sons and two daughters. Samuel was used by God; he became a prophet, he anointed Saul and David as kings and served as a judge and as a priest to the nation of Israel.

Hannah trusted God. What about you? I think Hannah would tell you to keep praying because God answers prayers. All we know about Hannah’s life is just in the first two chapters of 1 Samuel, but she stands out as a reminder of faith—to trust in the Lord and the power of prayer.

In the first chapter of 1 Samuel, Hannah was in deep anguish, pouring out her heart to God. In chapter two, Hannah prayed again, but this time, expressing her joy, she worshiped and celebrated the sovereignty of God. Hannah rose up!

Pray Without Ceasing

In reading the Book of Nehemiah, we are shown what a man of prayer he was and how much he loved the land of his ancestors. When the news of the demise of Judah and that the remnant of people that were there were in trouble reached him, he wept, mourned, and fasted. Then what did he do? He prayed. He cried out to the Lord, repenting for what the Israelites had done. He then asked God if He remembered what He had told Moses about the exiled. He ended his prayer for by saying, “Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man” (Neh. 1:11). Nehemiah was a cupbearer for the king.

Fast forward to chapter 2 verses 4–5, which says:

“The king said to me, ‘What is it you want?’

Then I prayed to the God of heaven,and I answered the king, ‘If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.’”

We read where Nehemiah approached King Artaxerxes and the king said, “What do you want?” Nehemiah knew at that moment that God had answered his first prayer and gave him favor with the king. So, what was his response? To pray again!

Nehemiah was a mighty man of prayer. He did nothing without praying first.

We should be mighty women of prayer. When we see Him granting us favor, pray again as we see Him working.

What are you praying for? What are you waiting on God for?

Me? I’m eagerly awaiting on the mighty healing hand of God to heal someone in my life. I can’t wait to see God work and witness the testimony that will come out of it.

I want MORE of Jesus!

In our walk with the Lord we find ourselves praying to Jesus, I want MORE of you! We are asking to have a deep encounter with Him. This prayer may be arising because we do not know what to do amid difficult times or a crisis when we do not know what to do. We know that Jesus can satisfy the needs of our heart and resolve the circumstances in which we live. But often our prayers, though sincere and with a genuine understanding of who God is, are made with an expectation that the answer will be what we desire it to be!

In the story of Jesus with a woman from Samaria (Luke 4:1-26), she said to Him: “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” (vs.15) The Samaritan was asking for something she thought would help her have a better life. She did not know with whom she was talking and the relevance of that question.

“I know in my own life I have come to Jesus with many of my expectations. But He has His own plan and it is often different from mine and always better. I might expect Him to take certain sorrows or troubles out of my life, but He instead just tells me to trust Him and wait patiently. I might expect Him to teach me one thing, but He teaches me another instead. Jesus likes to remind us that He has the matter under control, and He so often answers our prayers with something better.” *

“There have been times when I have come to Jesus wanting Him to help me deal with someone who was frustrating me. But instead, He asked me to answer the question, “What is it in your heart that needs to change in the way you interact with this person? In what ways are you not believing that the gospel applies to this person?” Jesus is patient and reveals things to us when we need to hear them in ways to which we can respond. Jesus always goes deeper.” *

Luke 4:16-17 reads, “He told her, ‘Go, call your husband and come back.’ ‘I have no husband,’ she replied.” Jesus knew the circumstances of her life and her specific needs.  He also pointed out to her the difficult situation in which she was living; she already knew but it was brought up in this conversation. Jesus always goes deeper and offers us His grace. (In the words of the hymn writer, “Amazing Grace How Sweet the Sound…”)

In that process to go deeper, Jesus points us to our shortcomings. Ouch!  It hurts when the Holy Spirits reveals that we are imperfect people and we need Him for everything in our lives. When we truly have an encounter with Jesus, He will reveal who we really are.

“Sometimes we don’t want to have our sin pointed out to us, and that can even make us not want to come to Him. But we should remember that He is kind and patient and He does not show us our sin without also being there to help us overcome it and change. When we truly encounter Jesus, we can be certain that He will get to the heart of the issue, no matter what we do to try to distract from it.” *

Yes, I want MORE of Jesus! I pray that our hearts will always long and thirst for His presence. I pray that when He reveals the real needs of our souls, we will take them to His feet on the Cross and allow Him to transform them for His Glory.

Please Talk to Strangers

I love listening to women share their stories, especially when the story includes an element of testimony regarding her faith journey. Often, our e-Links contain such stories. In January 2017, we heard two stories – Sarah reflected on training in grace and we Fran shared how God has called her to choose the aroma of love.

Today, we will hear a story from Kate. When she sent me this testimony, I knew it needed to be shared!

Please Talk to Strangers:

I’d waited over a year for this moment.  Toyota had recalled the cracked dashboard on my van and it took nearly 2 years for the part to come in. I arrived at my appointment and the courtesy car was ready to take me home.   I approached the car.  My first thought was, “Do I sit in the back seat or the front seat?” It was a God thing.  I chose the front.

I introduced myself to the driver and he told me his name.  I asked, “Where are you from?”  Iran.  I guess I’m good at asking questions because in half an hour’s time, I’d heard his life story: Grew up Muslim, believing that Islam was THE religion, and all others were infidel. Believe, go to hell or be killed.  It was all about hate, he told me.  He grew up hating.

He fought in the Iran-Iraq war for two years as a sniper.  Every morning it was his job to go out and check the road.  One morning he had the urge for a cigarette, so he went back to have a smoke.  His buddy took his place.  The soldier never returned; his head was blown off.  “Why wasn’t it me?”

Eventually he made his way to the USA and married a Christian woman.  She prayed for him; her family loved him.  Eventually he, too, became a Christian.  The Christian faith, he told me, is all about love.  The contrast with his past faith was stark.  He chose Jesus and His love. Wow!

Finally, it was my turn to say something.  I told my driver that I was a Christian, and that I had been praying for the Muslim people for many years.  Amazingly, he was the first one I’d had a meaningful conversation with!  I told him I’d heard that thousands of young Muslims were turning to Christ, disturbed by all the terrorist violence of ISIS. He said he believed that could be true.

What he said next could have come from the lips of A.B. Simpson:  The problem is that most of the Muslims don’t know, he told me. They haven’t heard. If only someone would tell them, surely they would turn to Jesus, too, just as he had.

And then he pulled up to my home. I squeezed his arm and called him my brother.  Suddenly my prayers for the Muslim people had a face.  These people have names. They have families.  They have needs.  And we have the privilege of praying for them.

So, I want to encourage you, Great Commission Women!  This is what we are all about.  Keep praying for the lost.  And please, talk to strangers.  You might find a treasure like I did.

 Kate Carpenter.

“Mrs. Kate” Carpenter, pastor’s wife, attends Friendship Alliance Church, Callahan, FL. (She’s also a folksinger, songwriter & storyteller!) Website:  www.MrsKate.com 


Article Submitted by: Jen Vogel, Director, GCW National Executive Team