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Prayer is one of the most powerful spiritual weapons we have as followers of Christ. And I believe that some of the most effective prayers are the ones offered by those in obscurity.

These are the prayers of ordinary people whose hearts are on fire for God.

They are the people kneeling in a village hut somewhere…or in an inner-city apartment…or in a suburban home. People you would never suspect are making such an impact through their prayers.

How do I know? Because the Bible is full of people just like that. Hannah is an incredible example.

In the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel, we find Hannah desperate for a child. She is barren—has no children—which in that day was viewed as a curse. In fact, a husband could divorce his wife if she was unable to bear children!

So Hannah is in a very tough spot. In fact, 1 Samuel 1:6–16 tells us…

• She was miserable.
• She wept in anguish.
• Her heart was grieved.
• She was in bitterness of soul.
• She felt burdened by affliction and vexation.
• Her spirit was sorrowful.

Think about those words: grief, affliction, vexation, sorrowful spirit, bitter. And how did Hannah respond? She prayed.

And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the LORD and wept in anguish. Then she made a vow and said, ‘O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.’” (1 Samuel 1:10–11)

It raises a tough question: How do you and I respond when we find ourselves in such a miserable state? Do we complain? Do we curse? Do we criticize?

Or do we pray?

When you’re feeling miserable and grieved at heart, do you shut the door of your world and pull the curtains over your life? Do you put up signs that say, NOBODY HAD BETTER COME AROUND BECAUSE I’M IN A BAD MOOD?

Or do you pray?

When you are in anguish and afflicted, do you wallow in self-pity and depression? Do you get bitter and lash out at those around you?

Or do you pray?

Hannah chose to pray. And her prayer was answered.

She had a son, Samuel, whom she did dedicate to the Lord just as she promised…and God used him to change the course of Israel’s history. And then she had five more children!

Hannah was barren—considered cursed in her culture. But in her distress she prayed. And God not only answered her prayer, but He did so much more than she ever could have imagined!


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