A Heart Devoted to God

Lysa TerKeurst

Day: 2 | Plan: 1-2 Samuel

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 2

1 Samuel 2:1 (NIV) “Then Hannah prayed and said: ‘My heart rejoices in the LORD; in the LORD my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance.’”

1 Samuel 2 starts with a beautiful, heartfelt song of praise lifted up from the lips of Hannah, a woman we would be wise to get to know better.

She is the woman we saw crying out to God in 1 Samuel 1 over the matter of her empty womb. The woman whose cries of anguish gave way to the cries of a newborn son.

And it would be easy for us to dismiss Hannah’s prayer of praise today. Especially if we are in a painful place of waiting for God to answer the desperate cry of our heart. Of course, Hannah’s praising Him. God answered her prayer. I could praise Him like that, too, if only He would hear me and move on my behalf. 

If that’s you today, I want you to know I understand. I know what it’s like to have a deep cry in your heart. A prayer that you keep praying but haven’t yet seen God answer. For me, it’s like an ache in my soul—just waiting, waiting to be fulfilled.

And as much as it pierces my soul to think about it, I wonder sometimes if I want the answer to the cry of my heart more than I want God Himself.

That’s why I want us to take a closer look at Hannah’s story.

One of the first things we can note is the timing of Hannah’s prayer. If we turn back to 1 Samuel 1, we see that Hannah isn’t lifting these praises up immediately after the miraculous birth of her son, Samuel. Her words actually come after she follows through on her promise to give Samuel back to God. (1 Samuel 1:11) Bible scholars say Samuel was probably around 2 or 3 years old when he was weaned and Hannah took him to Eli, the high priest, so Samuel could serve in the house of the Lord.

Can you even imagine? This was her son. The one she had passionately prayed for. Yet Hannah willingly and fully surrendered him back to the Lord. And then she joyfully opened her mouth with praise, praise so powerful we see Mary the mother of Jesus emulating it in Luke 1:46-55. Which leads us to the next thing I want us to look at—Hannah’s prayer itself.

Hannah’s prayer gives us a rare glimpse into the life of a woman of profound faith. Throughout the entire prayer there is poetic brilliance as we see her compare and contrast those that are for God and against Him. At the core of her prayer is the realization that God raises up the broken and battered and uses them to accomplish His purposes.

In Hannah’s words we see the raw and true emotion of a woman who had endured affliction and pain while also experiencing the blessing of a faithful God. But the blessing of God wasn’t the focus of her prayer.

From the very first verse we can see where Hannah’s hope and delight were found: My heart rejoices in the LORD; in the LORD my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance (1 Samuel 2:1). And Hannah goes on to make mention of the Lord’s name a total of 18 times in her prayer. Eighteen.

The object of Hannah’s affection was the Lord Himself. He was the source of her hope. He was the source of her deep, soul satisfaction. Her devotion to Him was never tied to whether or not God answered her prayer. Her devotion was securely attached to who she knew God to be.

Oh, friends. This is where I believe we need to stop and do some personal heart examination. Where does our affection lie? To what is our devotion truly tied? We need to consider these questions carefully. Because that thing we’ve been so desperate to see come to pass? That unanswered prayer? That unrelenting ache?

Those answers and the easing of that ache aren’t the source of us finally becoming fully satisfied. They aren’t. And believing this lie is a scheme of Satan to keep us in an unsatisfied place. Not to mention that connecting our faith to whether or not God answers our prayers when and how we want is shaky ground.

If we want settled and secure hearts, we must tie our hope to the Lord Himself. We must set our affection fully and firmly on Him—delighting ourselves in who He is instead of what we long for Him to do. Because the depth of our affection for God directly affects the level of our devotion to God. And I want to live this life devoted to Him, no matter how or when He answers my prayers.

Prayer: Father God, help me have a heart more like Hannah’s. A heart that remains tender towards You in all circumstances. A heart that finds its sole delight in You. I am choosing to praise You today, simply for who You are. The God who loves me. The God who will never leave me or forsake me. The God who knows what is best and is always working for my good. Today, I am choosing to set my affection on You and rejoice over the gift it is to be Yours. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

More Moments:

Hannah’s prayer is often the focus of 1 Samuel 2, but on the heels of her prayer we are... Read More

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