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She needs heartfelt personal prayer

She needs heartfelt personal prayer

Something to read

O Lord of hosts, if only you will look on the misery of your servant, and remember me, and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a male child, then I will set him before you as a nazirite until the day of his death. He shall drink neither wine nor intoxicants, and no razor shall touch his head.

- 1 Samuel 1:11 from full reading 1 Samuel 4-20.

Something to think about

The first book of Samuel is very subtle. It repays being read again and again. In this way the deliberate echoes running through the book can be heard and appreciated. When something strikes you as odd, make a note of it, and then come back to it later. The oddities often drop into place after repeated reading.

Right at the start, we open the book expecting to be plunged into the history of Israel. Instead we are introduced to an obscure family which seems rather dysfunctional. Only later in our reading can we come to see how this chapter has prepared us for what is to come later.

When Hannah is challenged by Eli, we may wonder what is going on. The fervent personal prayer of this faithful woman is misunderstood and criticised by the priest. Before we rush to criticise the institution – the church – we should note that Hannah does not do this. Quite the opposite, she entrusts her firstborn son to this very institution. She needs both heartfelt personal prayer and the institutional church.

Nothing should hold us back from the prayers we want to offer to God. Even the most personal concerns may turn out to have national significance.

Something to do

Think about ways in which you can support good physical and mental maternal health.

Sierra Leone has the worst maternal mortality ratio in the world, with 1165 mothers dying per 100,000 live births. Child mortality remains high at 156 in 1000 live births.

Read more about our work in Sierra Leone.

Something to pray

Heavenly Father, make our prayers fervent when we are alone and make them fervent too when we pray with others.

Today’s reading has been provided by Jim Stewart. Jim has led a church in Tunbridge Wells over the last 21 years, at the time of writing. Together with his wife they have been pleased to serve with people with a heart for evangelism, social action and worldwide mission.