Summary: 50-DAY SPIRITUAL ADVENTURE Hannah Put simply, personal and persistent prayer energizes our dreams because PRAYER IS FAITH IN ACTION.
One of my favorite comics is “The Family Circus.” Once I believe that the father was helping Billy with his homework with the rest of the family there in the kitchen. Dad asks Billy, “What is the greatest power source in all the world?” In turn everyone is pictured thinking what the answer may be. We can see each of the children thinking about things like high voltage power lines, speeding race cars, nuclear explosions, Niagra Falls and other such powerful things. Mom however pictures something else; the greatest power on earth that she can imagine is her children kneeling beside their beds saying their prayers.
Someone has said (I think it may have been Spurgeon), “Prayer is the nerve that moves the hand of God.” Someone else has said (and I’m not sure who, but it’s still true), “All hell trembles when the weakest saint is on his knees in prayer.”
Prayer is powerful. The Bible says, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16 NIV).
As we continue our 50-day spiritual adventure “Daring to Dream Again–Overcoming Barriers That Hold You Back” this morning, we are going to look at Hanna. Hanna was not just a dreamer, nor did her life end filled with regret because of unrealized dreams. Hanna energized her dreams through prayer and saw her dreams come true. “Energizing Dreams Through Prayer”, you too can see your God-given dreams become a reality!
+ Read: 1 Samuel 1:1-28 (The Message Bible)
1. Hanna had a dream that was unfulfilled.
+ 1 Samuel 1:2 Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none. (NIV)
Hanna had a great dream. Much like the dreams of young ladies today, Hanna dreamed of having a family. She never guessed on her wedding day of the sorrow that was before her. Years passed and Hanna was unable to have the children she had always dreamed of having.
In Old Testament times, barrenness for women was a curse. A childless woman was considered a failure; she was an embarrassment to her husband. Husbands actually had the right to divorce his wife if she was unable to produce children. Children were an important part of the economic standing for a family; large families were a symbol of status and wealth.
This was a “good news/bad news” story for Hanna. The good news was that her husband Elkanah loved her very much; her marriage was safe. The bad news was that Elkanah had a second wife, Peninnah who had given Elkanah many sons and daughters. Hanna’s bad dream became a living nightmare.
Let’s take a brief “rabbit trail” because some of you may have already run down that trail with some questions. You don’t have to look hard to find examples of polygamy in the Old Testament: Jacob and Esau, the grandsons of Abraham; David, Solomon, and other kings of Israel and Judah all had multiple wives. Not even the example of David, a man after God’s own heart, legitimizes polygamy.
From the beginning God’s plan was that marriage would be a relationship between one man with one woman.
+ Genesis 2:24 . . . a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. (NIV)