Prayer is as natural as breathing for some people and a huge mystery to others. I find it fascinating that the lectionary puts Hannah’s story with predictions about the end of the world. Hannah went to pour out her broken heart to God and Eli thought she was drunk. Later, after her prayers are answered, her prayer is captured in words, a song of praise to God. In the Gospel reading, Jesus essentially says that the world will end with wars and famine. It’s a little confusing.
People struggle with prayer. How to do it. When or where to do it. Can prayer be silent? Does it have to be spontaneous or can it be written? How do you know that God hears you when the answer isn’t as obvious as Hannah’s was? The answers are simple enough. Prayer is opening yourself to God. It can be an outpouring of grief and longing as Hannah’s prayer was. Or it can be a song of praise. And it can take any form from silence to dancing. But this isn’t the problem for most people. The problem is trusting that God will respond.
I don’t know much about the world ending or the Second Coming, but I do know that the world could use more prayer – more people seeking to open themselves to God. It doesn’t so much matter how you do it. Just do it.
Hannah went to God with her need. She didn’t even pray like everyone else, apparently, because the onlooker thought she was drunk. But God heard her.
RCL – Year B – Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost – November 18, 2012
1 Samuel 1:4-20
1 Samuel 2:1-10
Hebrews 10:11-14 [15-18] 19-25
This is a photo of my painting , “Fall Fellowship”