When was the last time you prayed fervently to God? What did you need? Did He answer in a way you expected? When Hannah wanted a baby, she cried out to God with great earnestness so much that the priest Eli thought she was drunk. Hannah had confidence that God heard her prayer. She understood that one of the evidences of the understanding and the belief that God hears and answers prayer is persistence in prayer. Hannah prayed with a passion and bitterness of heart that looked to God at first and fixed her gaze upon the Lord only. She didn't even notice Eli watching her. She believed that God heard and God acted as a result of our small prayers. She prayed with passion because she believed God heard her.
But what if our prayers seem not to be heard? Hannah is a great example for us of what C. H. Spurgeon observed about prayer in his book Illustrations and Meditations: "Frequently the richest answers are not the speediest … A prayer may be all the longer on its voyage because it is bringing us a heavier freight of blessing. Delayed answers are not only trials of faith, but they give us an opportunity of honoring God by our steadfast confidence in Him under apparent repulses.”
Finally, Hannah's persistence in prayer showed that she understood she could not fix her situation but the all-powerful God who hears and acts could. The next year, Hannah came with a baby in her arms. A baby she named Samuel, which means “God heard.” Samuel’s life was a constant reminder to Hannah and all of Israel that God lives, hears, and acts.
As you engage in conversation about prayer with your kids this week, remember that even prayers that seem to be delayed are meant to strengthen our resolve to pray and to honor God with a confidence that can't be shaken. We serve a God who hears us, and because He hears us, no prayer is too small or too big that we can't bring Him.
Check out The Gospel Project At Home: God Provided for Hannah for resources designed to help you lead a family worship experience as well as suggestions for morning and evening prayer times and family activities.
FAMILY TALKING POINTS
This is the big idea of how this week’s Bible story points to Jesus.
● Toddlers: Jesus showed the world what God is like.
● Preschool: Samuel told people what God is like and what He would do. Jesus, the Son of God, told people about God’s plan and showed the world what God is like.
● Kids: Hannah trusted God and sent Samuel away from home to serve God with his whole life. God sent Jesus from heaven to earth to be our Savior. Just as Samuel used God’s words to tell people about God, Jesus—the Word who became flesh—perfectly shows us what God is like.
BIG PICTURE QUESTION & ANSWER
This is an important biblical truth that your child will encounter each week of this unit.
● Preschool: What is the punishment for sin? The punishment for sin is separation from God.
● Kids: What is the fair payment for sin? The fair payment for sin is death.
This is a Bible verse that relates to what your child will encounter each week of this unit.
● Babies & Toddlers: God gives life forever. Romans 6:23
● Preschool: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
● Kids: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
** Next week (11/19): Eli’s Sons Disobeyed God (1 Samuel 4–6)