These past couple of months, my prayer life has been like a drought, cracked and lacking a drop of joy. I have been like Hannah praying for a son at the temple: “Hannah was very troubled. She prayed to the Lord and cried with sorrow” (1 Samuel 1:10). My grievances centered around a lack of fulfillment in my job. I would come home from work tired and stressed. I felt unappreciated and overwhelmed at tasks before me. I could not see the purpose of why God had me where I was.
It hit a critical point when after one very rough day, I cried my entire commute home (note: I’m not usually a crier, so this was significant for me). I pleaded for the Lord to change my situation, to show me why He had me where He had me. I cried out for him to take away the draining negative emotions that were sucking the joy out of my life. When I arrived home, after praying and sobbing for thirty minutes, my perceived slights still played over and over again in my head. I could not relinquish the feelings that plagued my heart. I was even more frustrated with God that my prayers seemed to do nothing. Why was I still feeling this way?
Slowly, over several weeks, God began to reveal to me the faith that is imperative to prayer life. As I studied the story of Hannah more, God showed me something in the story line I had never seen before.
After she finished praying, Hannah “went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad” (1 Samuel 1:18). Now this might not seem significant at first, but then I realized, God had not answered her prayer yet. She still did not have a child. She was not pregnant. So why was she no longer sad? Because prayer is about more than just bringing our requests before God. It’s about leaving them there.
Because prayer is about more than just bringing our requests before God. It’s about leaving them there.
After Hannah finally surrendered her incredible longing to be a mother at the Lord’s feet, she no longer was plagued by the joy-stealing, unfulfilled desire. Her desire was fulfilled through faith in God’s promises.
I realized that God was asking me to leave my problems at His feet. I wanted to come to Him and get answers. He wanted me to come to Him and surrender, trusting that He had my best interests at heart. If we wait to let go of our worries and doubts until God answers our prayers, we will never find satisfaction in our relationship with God.
If we wait to let go of our worries and doubts until God answers our prayers, we will never find satisfaction in our relationship with God.
Do you have a heavy burden today? Are you going through trial that seem to have no purpose? Is bitterness overshadowing the joy in your relationships? Do you have a desire that is draining your contentment? Leave your burdens at the feet of God, and leave no longer sad.
I’m not saying you will have answers. Everything won’t automatically be fixed. It wasn’t the case for Hannah. It was weeks before God opened my eyes to His will and changed my heart, and in some areas I am still waiting on answers. But there is a joy that is stronger than any emotion. It is a faith-based joy grounded in an assurance that, no matter what, we can lift our heads even in the hardest of circumstances.
But there is a joy that is stronger than any emotion. It is a faith-based joy grounded in an assurance that, no matter what, we can lift our heads even in the hardest of circumstances.
Brothers and sisters, when you pray today, give God those requests that so plague your heart and mind. Have faith in the promises of God and leave no longer sad—living in the confidence that your life is entrusted to a good Father, a suffering Savior, and a sovereign Lord.