Have you ever seen, read, or heard something that spoke to you in a way that you couldn’t explain? I read something more than two weeks ago and it has stayed with me and caused me to think about the way that I view my life and how well I value the people in it. I have shared it and allowed it to guide me as I pray for others. It has sparked questions that I have never thought about much less answered.
Consider these words from a woman who so desperately wanted children and had none. She agonized over her desire to be a mother, had prayed so fervently and with such deep emotion for so long, that when the Lord God sent her His answer she said this:
“For this boy I prayed, and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of Him. So I have dedicated him to the LORD; as long as he lives, he is dedicated to the LORD.”
Charles Spurgeon wrote his observations in this thought provoking response to these things spoken from Hannah as she presented Samuel to the Lord (after weaning him, back then, around age 3-5 yrs. old):
Hannah’s heaven-given child was the fruit of earnest pleading. Did we pray for the conversion of our children? How doubly sweet when they are saved - to see in them our petitions filled! Better to rejoice over them as the fruit of our pleadings rather than the fruit of our bodies.
WOW! The devotion of this woman to the Lord and her integrity to not just say it - but DO IT!
I love that! But do I do that?
It is so easy to take the answers to our prayers for granted. Sure, we might be grateful to God for hearing and answering...at least some of the time right? Especially if He answered us the way that we wanted Him to! But what do we do before the answer comes, or with the answer when it comes?
Here is where Spurgeon’s insights got very challenging to me personally:
Have we sought from the LORD some choice spiritual gift?
(ME: I have.)
When it comes to us it will be wrapped up in the gold cloth of God’s faithfulness and truth, and so doubly precious.
(ME: Have I fully appreciated the value of God’s answer to my request?)
Have we petitioned for success in the LORD’s work?
How joyful is the prosperity which comes flying upon the wings of prayer!
(ME: Am I still experiencing the residual effects of that blessing? Am I grateful that His answers continue to supply my needs?)
It is always best to get blessings into our house in the legitimate way, by the door of prayer; then they are blessings indeed, and not temptations.
(ME: Definitely food for thought! God’s answers are His blessings to us and benefit those nearest and dearest to us!)
Even when prayer speeds not, the blessings grow all the richer for the delay; the child Jesus was all the more lovely in the eyes of Mary when she found Him after having sought Him sorrowing.
(ME: So true! We have joy from the One who hears and answers, we experience relief from fears and burdens, we practice patience and perseverance that are built into our character.)
Every question that he asked and every observation he offered as a response to each question caused me to take a good hard look at my own personal understanding of God’s goodness towards me, and my own attitude towards Him.
There is definitely something for each of us to gain here, and if we are willing to apply it, we will grow richer from it! So let’s do this together,
1 - Take the time to look at the questions above.
Write them down on a piece of paper and leave space for your own answers.
2 - Think about them and be honest with yourself about your own attitude, understanding, and desires.
If you aren’t willing to see where you are it will be very difficult to learn how to get where you want to be.
3 - Write down your answers.
It might be good to think about putting a date on them so that you can look back at another time and remember your thoughts.
4 - Write down what you plan to do with what you have learned.
This is a great way to check your progress a year from now! I love it when I can see that I am not the same person I was when I started on a journey!
5 - Determine to pray for others, even better, be intentional to dedicate those answers to your prayers before they come.
This will help you to see the goodness and character of God as He answers your prayers and how He works in and through that answer. This will also help you to pray for them in line with God’s will for them.
When I read this devotional, I recalled when my oldest daughter Tara, went away to church camp for the first time. I prayed and fasted for her the whole week. I wondered how she would do being away from me for a week, OR who would take care of her if she got sick, OR IF SHE GOT HURT, OR ... you can fill in the blank! (Moms worry about SO many things!) I realized that two things:
I had made my concern for her bigger than my trust in God to watch over her.
I had to entrust her care and protection to the only One who could give it, and give it better than me - God. As much as I wanted to, I knew that I would not always be able to be there for her. She would grow up and had to learn (me too) how to trust the Lord to help her.
That was such a difficult step for me. Maybe you have experienced something like that. Even now as I read Spurgeon’s words and go back to 1 Samuel 1 and read about Hannah, I remember my overwhelming concern for Tara and the prayers that I prayed for her during that week. I recall the countless prayers that I have prayed for so many...and I have to ask myself:
HAVE I DEDICATED THOSE ANSWERS TO THE LORD?
From this point on my attitude will be:
1-I prayed! 2-God answered! 3-I dedicated His answer back to Him!
In his summary, Charles Spurgeon points us in the right direction for our next steps:
THAT WHICH WE WIN BY PRAYER WE SHOULD DEDICATE TO GOD
as Hannah dedicated Samuel.
WHY? Because the gift came to us from heaven, let it go to heaven!
As I share this, I am praying that it ministers to you and leads you to an honest conversation with God!
The answer to my prayer for you from this message is:
Dedicated to the ONE I Love!
If this message has spoken to you, would you consider sharing it with me? I love to hear and read about the perceptions and life stories of others! You are welcome to send them to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org