Summary: Communicating principles on prayer from a woman who prayed. What can we learn from Hannah?
HANNAH: AN EXAMPLE OF PRAYER AND FASTING
Today I want to communicate principles on prayer from a woman who prayed. The Bible says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man (woman) availeth much” (James 5:16). Hannah prayed, and God gave her a son. What can we learn from Hannah?
A. Hannah knew how to fast.
Fasting is going without food so you can give yourself to prayer; to touch God by prayer and fasting.
1. You must have a purpose.
Hannah wanted a son. “Give unto thine handmaid a man child” (I Sam. 1:11).
2. You must intercede.
Hannah prayed. “Hannah prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore” I Sam. 1:10).
3. You must fast.
“She wept and didn’t eat” (I Sam. 1:7).
On April 25, 1985 (12 years ago) over 5,000 students on Liberty Mountain fasted for one day and prayed for the healing of Vernon Brewer, the Dean of Students. He was loved by the students so they fasted and prayed. Vernon had cancer and was given 6 months to live. He’s alive and well 12 years later because of prayer and fasting.
B. Hannah knew the basis of prayer.
Hannah sacrificed and prayed to the Lord, using His powerful name, “Lord of Hosts” (I Sam. 1:3). When she recognized that God was a powerful God, she could expect a powerful answer to prayer. When you call God “The Lord of Hosts” you are really calling Him the “God of the Fighting Angel.” Remember the basic premise in prayer:
The size of your God,
Determines the size of your prayer request.
The size of your prayer request,
Determines the size of your answers.
The name, “Lord of Hosts” is a powerful and effective name by which to pray.
C. Hannah knew the place of prayer.
Notice that when she came up to the Tabernacle, that is the same as God’s place. It was there she prayed. Hannah came into the Tabernacle to pray because that was where the presence of the Lord was located. Israel recognized the “Lord dwelleth in the praises of His people” (Psalm 22:3). Again, “The Lord dwelleth between the cherubim (I Samuel 4:4) which means that God dwelled in the Tabernacle. Obviously, God dwells in the heart of every believer and God is everywhere present, which we call His omnipresence. But in the Old Testament the presence of God was the Tabernacle. Today, the church is the Body of Christ. I believe God is here today. He is present.
I don’t believe that praying in church is the only place to pray. Every once in awhile you see a movie where someone stumbles into a cathedral to pray and the movie producers will tell you that they got their answer because they were in a church. God can answer prayers anywhere!
Moses prayed in the wilderness.
Elijah prayed on the mountain top.
Daniel prayed in his house.
Nehemiah prayed in the king’s presence.
Jesus prayed in the garden.
The disciples prayed in the upper room.
Paul prayed in prison.
Peter prayed on the roof top.
But Hannah prayed in the Tabernacle.
D. Hannah knew the work of prayer.
Every time you pray, it costs you something. Effective prayer cost Hannah something. Hannah was intense, childless, and completely committed.
Notice how the Bible describes her prayers: “She was in bitterness of soul and prayed unto the Lord and wept” (v. 10).
“It came to pass as she continued praying” (v. 12).
“I have poured out my soul before the Lord” (v. 15).
There are some enemies to prayer. Watch for these enemies:
2. Concern for the world
4. Physical weariness
We must form habits when we pray. Apparently, Hannah had a time, a place, and a commitment to prayer. I would challenge you to form a habit concerning:
1. A specific time each day.
2. A specific place each day.
3. A prayer list to follow each day.
4. A regular Bible reading pattern.
E. Hannah knew the openness of prayer.
When you pray, expose yourself to God. Notice that Hannah “poured out her heart before the Lord” (I Samuel 1:15), Hannah was completely open toward God. When you want to be an effective prayer warrior, you must:
1. Confess your sins.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).
2. Repent of those sins.
“If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked way” (II Chron. 7:14).
3. Forgive your debtors as you ask God to forgive you.
The Lord’s Prayer tells us to ask God to forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors.