Hannah bore the misery of powerlessness. Childless, she cringed under the withering scorn of those around her and even doubted the love of her husband. There was nothing she could do about it — no fertility doctors back then. In prayer, her lips quivered so bad that the chief priest mistook for a drunk woman.
Powerlessness is the story of salvation. We are absolutely powerlessness to fulfill the law and earn our way to Heaven. So Christ came down from Heaven to do it for us as a man. Powerlessness, then, is the essence of Christianity.
So don’t be overly distressed in a moment of utter powerlessness. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong — 2 Cor. 12:10 NIV. Powerlessness is the stage call the Powerful One. He will appear on scene and vanquish all things that have cornered us and deprived us of our dignity.
Hannah’s prayer got answered. Silencing her rival, she gave birth to Samuel the prophet — and a few more kids afterward. Her rancor turned to rapture.
I first started praying — really praying — when I got involved in the Lighthouse Church in Santa Monica. They had 6:00 a.m. prayer for an hour every morning. I went because 1) it was expected of rising disciples, and 2) in theory, I knew prayer was effective.
However, my first prayings, I am ashamed to admit now, lacked faith. The first real answer to prayer surprised me. I was praying for Blanca, the middle of three sisters, who was in the world. I prayed six months for her to get saved. When she walked into the church, my jaw dropped to the floor. In my head, I said, “Blanca, what are you doing here? I thought you wanted to be in the world.”
To which, the Holy Spirit responded: “Weren’t you praying for her? Why now are you surprised by the answer?”
That’s when I stopped going to prayer out of obligation. From then on, I went because of conviction. I knew that prayer worked! Since I have seen thousands of similar answers. I am addicted to prayer like the junkie to drugs. I only wish I could help people to get the revelation for themselves. That is the purpose of this blog.
He was told to shut up. He clamored all the more. She was told she was dog. She asked for a crumb off the table.
What do you do when God appears to say no? Bartimaeus kept asking. In fact, he yelled all the louder (Mark 10:48). The Canaanite woman didn’t get mad. She said, “Yes, but…” Jesus tested her strongly. First he didn’t even talk to her. Then He mistreated her. She kept insisting. Even the “dogs” get crumbs off their masters’ tables. This impressed Jesus. “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted,” he said (Mat 15:28).
It’s hard to know when “no” is truly and definitively “no” from God. So if what you are asking for doesn’t contradict the Word of God, keep asking and patiently believing. You could ask for something that God won’t give you. But the other extreme is worse: you could lose heart and faith and stop believing.