A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. ~Tenneva Jordans. I do not think we can ever fully celebrate the women in our lives, but we always try the best way we know how. In light of this, for the next few weeks I will celebrate a few women with regards to their prayer life in scripture. Women are better relationally, as compared to men, and I think through prayer we have an opportunity to build our relationship with God. I will probably suggest things often mentioned and it will not be new to many people, but I feel that I have found a deeper meaning to the statement “After Your heart and not Your hand.” For the longest time the church has been disillusioned by saying this statement as a sign of humility during prayers so that we do not seem too demanding from God. Agreed, God is all we need in our lives but what kind of love relationship are we forging with Him if we cannot share with Him our deepest concerns? Is there a way to ask for our desires and not come out as demanding? Does God love us to the extent that He listens to us even when our requests sound “selfish”?
I have found women, both in the New and Old Testaments, who understood God’s love for them and understood the meaning of genuine relationships. On one side, there was Hannah who was childless for the longest time and it really hurt her especially with the diminishing self-worth in her marriage. On the other side, we had Mary and Martha who had just lost their brother Lazarus and were described to be in deep pain when they met Jesus. These two stories seem to be worlds apart at a glance, Old Testament and New Testament, having a child and the death of a loved one, yet the common trend in the women brings out prayers after God’s heart. So what do these women have in common?
When Hannah was at the tabernacle praying, she poured out everything that she felt to the Lord. The sorrow of not having given her husband, Elkanah, a child and the ridicule from her rival, Peninnah, who was Elkanah’s other wife, was eating her up slowly. Despite the comfort the husband was trying to give her, it was not enough and she took the matter to the Lord and cried out to Him. Scripture describes that she spoke in such pain and poured her heart out to the Lord that the priest, Eli, thought that she was drunk.
1st Samuel 1:13-16 Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought that she was drunk. So Eli said to her, “How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!” But Hannah answered and said, “No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine or intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. Do not consider your maid servant a wicked woman, for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief I have spoken until now.”
When Martha meets with Jesus after the death of their brother, Lazarus, she is honest enough to speak her mind. In her opinion, Lazarus would still be alive had Jesus come earlier. News had been sent to Jesus earlier before about Lazarus’ sickness but He did not come immediately to sought out the matter, He actually stayed for two more days where He was before going to see the sisters. With this in mind, it is easy to understand the place from which Martha was raising her concerns.
John 11:21-24 Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give you.”
Hannah had turned her problems into prayer instead of resentment, worry, self-pity and negativity towards Peninnah. This was a mountain moving choice where she admitted her bankruptcy in the situation and opened up to God’s bounty. Despite feeling let down by Jesus, Martha held onto her faith that God was able to do a great thing to turn the situation around. Sincerity does not end with sharing our problems but moving on to the point of trusting God, we need to be expectant to receive good from Him despite the circumstances. Sincerity is opening up our hearts both ways, despite sharing our needs, we are interested in knowing His will; being after His heart. Both of these situations were used to lead people towards believing God, that was His will.
I love the steps taken by this women, they knew God and understood that he would always be there for them. However, this did not keep them from expressing themselves sincerely. They were hurting and they said it. Many times we pray as though we understand God’s plan each and every time. The truth is however, we cannot do so; God’s ways are above us. The things we go through are meant to make us grow, but how do we grow if we do not ask God to teach us in our situation? It is good to boldly declare things over your life, necessary to remain positive and most importantly to trust in God, but there is a place to be sincere. Sincerity is humility. It does not mean you do not believe, it just means that you do not understand-so humbly ask. Ask as someone who wants to know, not as someone who has answers. Humbly ask- humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up.
John 11:11-15 and after that He said to them, “our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.” Then the disciples said, “Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.” However Jesus spoke about his death, but they thought He was speaking about taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.”
May we be like these women in the coming week, people who are sincere to God.
- “analyze IT, control IT, make IT happen, DO something!” (debbiering.wordpress.com)
Ecclesiastes 1:16-18 I communed with my heart saying, “Look I have attained greatness and have gained more wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge.” And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceive that this also is grasping for the wind. For in much wisdom is much grief, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.
It would not be fair to leave you with this information and let you try to change by your own wisdom and strength-it is like chasing the wind. Only in Jesus Christ does all this make sense and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit will we know the way to go. Say this prayer and receive a new life..
Heavenly Father, I come to You in the Name of Jesus. Your Word says, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21). I am calling on You. I pray and ask Jesus to come into my heart and be Lord over my life, according to Romans 10:9-10—”If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” I do that now. I confess that Jesus is Lord, and I believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead.
I am now reborn! I am a Christian—a child of Almighty God! I am saved! You also said in Your Word, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13). I am also asking You to fill me with the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, rise up within me as I praise God. I fully expect to speak with other tongues as You give me utterance (Acts 2:4).
The prayer was obtained from the Kenneth Copeland Ministries.