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Have you ever prayed for something for a long time and never seen an answer? Did you stop praying after a while? How has that experience affected your faith going forward?
Jesus reminded his disciples to pray and to keep praying and not give up: Luke 18:1-8. But praying about something for a long time without an answer can be discouraging. For Hannah- it was not only discouraging, but a constant reminder that God had not blessed her with a child like he had with Peninnah, Elkanah’s other wife. To make matters worse, Peninnah decided to ridicule Hannah for not being able to bear children. Hannah continued to pray, even to the point of surrendering her child to the Lord’s service if God were to give her a son. (1 Samuel 1)
When we can’t find the strength and the words to pray, the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. (Romans 8:225-27) When God finally does answer our prayers, the question is, “Will I thank God? Will I still continue to praise Him no matter what?” Hannah easily could have overlooked her promise to the Lord and selfishly kept her child Samuel for herself. But she gave him back to the Lord, and later on she had five other children! (1 Samuel 2:21)
Prayer is effective, not because we say the right words, but because we serve a gracious and merciful God who delights in giving the Holy Spirit to his children. (Luke 11:9-13)