Summary: It is an insult that is still used today on playgrounds across the globe. Little boys testing their strength and dexterity against one another revert back to this proverbial slap in the face by throwing down the gauntlet of this time proven stab. However
“Like a Girl”
Pray Like A Girl
For those of you last who were out last week I started a new series called “Like a Girl!” I challenged us to reevaluate what most of us have thought of as an insult for years when I challenged you to “Fight Like a Girl!”
Not some hands flailing in the air, no contact made type of fight. I challenged you to fight with prophetic insight and timing. I also encouraged you to add God back into the equation of your life! I hope you have been fighting like a girl all week.
Today I want to challenge you to do something else like a girl. This one doesn’t seem to be as big a leap in logic as fighting like a girl because most of us have always seen the women of the church as the prayer warriors. Most of the time it is the little old ladies of the church that really know how to pray! Where are the men that know how to pray? Maybe we need to learn to “Pray Like a Girl!”
1-2There once was a man who lived in Ramathaim. He was descended from the old Zuph family in the Ephraim hills. His name was Elkanah. (He was connected with the Zuphs from Ephraim through his father Jeroham, his grandfather Elihu, and his great-grandfather Tohu.) He had two wives. The first was Hannah; the second was Peninnah. Peninnah had children; Hannah did not.
3-7 Every year this man went from his hometown up to Shiloh to worship and offer a sacrifice to GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies. Eli and his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, served as the priests of GOD there. When Elkanah sacrificed, he passed helpings from the sacrificial meal around to his wife Peninnah and all her children, but he always gave an especially generous helping to Hannah because he loved her so much, and because GOD had not given her children. But her rival wife taunted her cruelly, rubbing it in and never letting her forget that GOD had not given her children. This went on year after year. Every time she went to the sanctuary of GOD she could expect to be taunted. Hannah was reduced to tears and had no appetite.
8 Her husband Elkanah said, "Oh, Hannah, why are you crying? Why aren’t you eating? And why are you so upset? Am I not of more worth to you than ten sons?"
9-11 So Hannah ate. Then she pulled herself together, slipped away quietly, and entered the sanctuary. The priest Eli was on duty at the entrance to GOD’s Temple in the customary seat. Crushed in soul, Hannah prayed to GOD and cried and cried—inconsolably. Then she made a vow:
If you’ll take a good, hard look at my pain,
If you’ll quit neglecting me and go into action for me
By giving me a son,
I’ll give him completely, unreservedly to you.
I’ll set him apart for a life of holy discipline.
12-14 It so happened that as she continued in prayer before GOD, Eli was watching her closely. Hannah was praying in her heart, silently. Her lips moved, but no sound was heard. Eli jumped to the conclusion that she was drunk. He approached her and said, "You’re drunk! How long do you plan to keep this up? Sober up, woman!"
15-16 Hannah said, "Oh no, sir—please! I’m a woman hard used. I haven’t been drinking. Not a drop of wine or beer. The only thing I’ve been pouring out is my heart, pouring it out to GOD. Don’t for a minute think I’m a bad woman. It’s because I’m so desperately unhappy and in such pain that I’ve stayed here so long."
17 Eli answered her, "Go in peace. And may the God of Israel give you what you have asked of him."
18 "Think well of me—and pray for me!" she said, and went her way. Then she ate heartily, her face radiant.
19 Up before dawn, they worshiped GOD and returned home to Ramah. Elkanah slept with Hannah his wife, and GOD began making the necessary arrangements in response to what she had asked.
III. Girl Lessons
a. Girl prayed about what irritated her.
Didn’t retaliate. Didn’t gossip. Didn’t quit.
Notice if you will that this went on year after year. This was not a onetime thing. It was a constant thing.
I also want you to notice this; her rival provoked her at church.
I know that probably won’t ever happen here, but church folks got under her skin. Church folks brought her to tears. Church folks irritated her. But notice that she didn’t change pews, or avoid her, or sit on the other side of the sanctuary from her, or call the prayer line about her. Instead she prayed like a girl!