Asking and giving

Week beginning: 16th February, 2020 | By Jonathan Storey | Cheltenham

"For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord."

1 Samuel 1:27-28 (ESV)

Hannah was "deeply distressed" (v17). She longed for a child and, weeping bitterly, out of "great anxiety and vexation" (v17), pleaded with God to provide one. Eventually God answered Hannah's prayer by giving her a son. Here is Hannah's response more literally: "For this child I prayed, and the Lord gave me the asking that I asked of him".

Hannah asked, and the Lord gave. He doesn't always give us exactly what we ask for, but he does respond to our prayers in love, wisdom and power. But how often we do not ask. We think we can rely on ourselves, or we think we cannot rely on God. Hannah's example teaches us to ask.

But notice (v28) how Hannah immediately dedicates the very thing she craved, the precious answer to her prayer – her only son - to the Lord. She gave back to God the gift that she had received from Him. As Christian lawyers our careers, skills and money are all gifts from Him. And like all gifts we can choose to grab them, gloat over them and guard them. We can use what we have been given in just the way that we like – and probably ruin them. Or we can lay them down before the giver. Hannah's example also teaches us that the path to contentment is to offer the gift back.

Prayer Points:

  1. Is there anything you do not ask for in prayer because, deep down, you think the Lord cannot or will not give it? How does Hannah's example challenge you?
  2. What could you give to God even this week? What will that look like?