Prayer Analysis: How Hannah’s Prayer Aligned Her Heart to God
Debilitating circumstances over which we have no control.
As much as we want to shy away from discomfort, pain helps us approach God’s holy throne with humility. In our helplessness and desperation, our hearts can begin to align with the heart of God through prayer. A heart aligned with our Master’s promises peace because “God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” –1 Corinthians 14:33
When reflecting upon the events of the past year, God revealed a 4-step process to my desperate prayers for my newborn son’s survival.
The 4-step process He revealed to me can also be seen in Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel. Let’s dive into an analysis of how Hannah’s prayer aligned her heart to God, thereby equipping you with powerful revelation in how you too can align your heart with God to experience His peace that surpasses all understanding.
Step 1: Wordless Groans
Romans 8:26 tells us “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”
In 1 Samuel 1, while weeping and praying to God, we read that Hannah catches the eye of Eli, the priest. As Eli watches it is noted, “Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard.”
In her anguish, we see Hannah turn to God in prayer. While she may have been feeling a million things—unseen, unloved, unwomanly—Romans 8:26 assures us that God both saw her and heard her. He understood the complexity of her heart and her wordless prayers, even if she herself didn’t understand them.
Step 2: Praying for Our Desires
Next, we see Hannah shift from wordless groans to audible desires.
Hannah prays for a son, and she doesn’t hold back in her request. She makes not a temporary Nazirite vow, but a permanent vow to dedicate him to the Lord forever. “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”
Voicing her desires gave Hannah a release; it gave her hope. When Hannah placed her requests at His feet, she opened the door for miraculous blessings. She got out of the way and made room for God to move.
Step 3: Praying of His Character
As she made her requests, Hannah noted God’s majesty. In awe of His greatness, her heart began to shift its posture to praise.
Hannah addresses God as the Lord Almighty. Her word choice shows us she knows who He is and what He has done. She asks that He look upon her in her misery and deliver her. She uses these words and prays of God’s character, knowing full-well His track record of delivering her people from oppression. This spoken reminder of His faithfulness fuels her faith. If He delivered Her ancestors, why couldn’t He deliver her, too?
Step 4: Praying for His Will
After Hannah poured her soul out to the Lord in prayer and received the blessing of Eli, we read of her physical change. The woman, who at the beginning of the story was in such despair she was thought to be a drunken mess, is changed. In 1 Samuel 1:18, “She said, ‘May your servant find favor in your eyes.’ Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.”
“May your servant find favor.” Through her four-step process and with these beautiful words, we see Hannah come to the end of herself and the beginning of Him. She has given her circumstance to God and is fully trusting His will for her life. She knows His character—He loves her and He cares for her. She no longer carries the weight of her barrenness; Hannah has found peace in the alignment of her heart with God’s.
Sweet sister, I pray you find encouragement in knowing prayer is a process. Each prayer we utter, whether with our heart or our lips, brings us closer to Him and to the alignment of our heart with His. When our hearts are aligned, we can expect a peace that surpasses all understanding and a fullness of joy that can be found only in His presence.
Read and analyze Jesus’s prayer in the garden of Gethsemane in Matthew 26. How does Jesus’s prayer follow this four-step process?
Take a moment to reflect on your prayers in a time of desperation. Did they cycle through this four-step process?
Follow Contributing Writer - Jessika Sanders