Although it is crucial to understand the principles governing prayer, understanding alone won’t lead you to a breakthrough. In fact, prayerlessness often co-exists with extensive Bible knowledge. Only the Holy Spirit can inspire us to pray effectually, and he uses various means to accomplish this purpose.
Serious prayer is born out of a sense of need, out of the knowledge that we must ask God to intervene. Hannah’s story in the Bible serves as a motivation for our prayer life. She could be called the “First Lady of Prayer” because she is the first woman whose petition is recorded in Scripture.
Hannah shared her husband, Elkanah, with his second wife, an unpleasant woman named Peninnah. Hannah’s inability to have children made her the brunt of Peninnah’s taunts (see 1 Samuel 1:3-7). Constantly tormented, with no offspring of her own, weeping and unable to eat, Hannah seemed mired in a hopeless situation. In the midst of her pain, she didn’t know that God was about to choose her, among all the women of Israel, to bear a son, Samuel, who would become a prophet and lead his wayward people back to himself. So she wept before God and prayed, “O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon 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” (1 Samuel 1:11).
This prayer, one of the greatest in the Bible, not only changed Hannah’s life, but also altered the history of Israel. God often works out his plans through human beings who feel compelled by their need to pray. Incredibly, we have the same potential in prayer that Hannah did. Our “breaking point” can lead to a breakthrough if it spurs us to call on God. Hannah asked for a son, but God gave her much more.
Don’t wait one more minute to receive what you need from God. Let this be your day to arise and talk to the Father from your heart and experience a breakthrough in prayer from your answering God.
Jim Cymbala began the Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson.