ADVENT 2022: A SEASON OF REMEMBRANCE AND RESTORATION – 12/22/2022
December 20, 2022
Appreciating Hannah’s Prayer
(Rev. Nathan Brittsan received an MDiv degree from Berkely School of Theology and now serves on the school’s Board of Trustees. He has served on the staff of Grace Baptist Church, and was Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church, Berkeley. Nathan and his husband, Jason, reside in San Jose.)
I Samuel 2:1-10 (NLT)
Then Hannah prayed:
“My heart rejoices in the Lord!
The Lord has made me strong.
Now I have an answer for my enemies;
I rejoice because you rescued me.
2 No one is holy like the Lord!
There is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
3 “Stop acting so proud and haughty!
Don’t speak with such arrogance!
For the Lord is a God who knows what you have done;
he will judge your actions.
4 The bow of the mighty is now broken,
and those who stumbled are now strong.
5 Those who were well fed are now starving,
and those who were starving are now full.
The childless woman now has seven children,
and the woman with many children wastes away.
6 The Lord gives both death and life;
he brings some down to the grave but raises others up.
7 The Lord makes some poor and others rich;
he brings some down and lifts others up.
8 He lifts the poor from the dust
and the needy from the garbage dump.
He sets them among princes,
placing them in seats of honor.
For all the earth is the Lord’s,
and he has set the world in order.
9 “He will protect his faithful ones,
but the wicked will disappear in darkness.
No one will succeed by strength alone.
10 Those who fight against the Lord will be shattered.
He thunders against them from heaven;
the Lord judges throughout the earth.
He gives power to his king;
he increases the strength of his anointed one.”
Hannah, mother of the prophet Samuel, sings a mighty song of praise after being unexpectedly blessed with a son. Samuel would go on to play an important role in naming the first Kings of Israel, anointing Saul and David to their royal positions.
Though Hannah understood how life can be unfair and difficult. Her prayer of praise acknowledges that “the Lord gives both death and life…makes some poor and others rich” (NLT). Hannah understood this personally. She had been isolated in her marriage and deeply grieved about her station in life. She cried out to the Lord, praying in great anguish and sorrow. Upon hearing her prayer, God blessed Hannah and she became pregnant. Returning all the glory to God, Hannah’s Prayer is a testament to prayerful waiting.
During this season of Advent – expectantly waiting for the Messiah – we see the example of Hannah as a model of one who faithfully waited, in prayer and steadfast hopefulness, that God would lift her out of her painful circumstances. She shares the hope that God “lifts the poor from the dust” and protects God’s faithful ones. Sometimes, blessing us beyond all expectations.
While we do not have promises of wealth and prosperity, we are promised that God will walk with us, giving us strength and spiritual nourishment in any situation. May you pray hopefully and expectantly that God will meet you right where you are – lifting you up during this season of waiting.
Thank you, Hannah, for the powerful reminder that our Loving Creator is faithful to those who call on God’s name.