Have you ever prayed for something so long that you were sure God stopped listening? I think that must be how Hannah felt when she was praying for a child, year after year after year. Her patience must have been running thin.
There was a man named Elkanah who had two wives, Peninnah and Hannah. Peninnah had children, several, and Hannah had none. Every year when they would go to worship and offer sacrifices. Peninnah would provoke and torment Hannah until she wept and wouldn’t eat anymore, all because she had no children. This must have gone on for many years because it mentions that Peninnah had sons and daughters. I can imagine that Hannah was devastated. All she wanted was a son and the waiting was agonizing.
And she made a vow, saying, “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.”1 Samuel 1:11
Then Eli the priest saw her praying and thought she was drunk, but she explained that she was praying out of her great anguish and grief.
Praying and waiting on the Lord can be so difficult sometimes. It can feel as if our prayers are going no further than the ceiling, but God hears all our prayers, no matter how small. Sometimes he is just waiting on us to be ready for the answer.
Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” 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. Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her.1 Samuel 1:17-19
God had heard her! He spoke through Eli straight to her heart and she was filled with joy! So much so that she worshiped the Lord again before they all went home. Answers to prayer are so sweet. They really do fill your heart and face with joy. Although Hannah was continually provoked by Peninnah, she never stopped praying. She was being joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12), and God answered her prayer with a resounding yes!
I would encourage you to read through Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 2 if you have a few moments. Also, keep praying, be patient, and keep praying. Sometimes the answer comes quickly, and other times like with Hannah or Abraham, it takes many years. But, God is faithful!