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Desperate Prayers for Desperate Times: Unleash God's Power in Life's Darkest Hour
by John Eckhardt
Learn More | Meet John Eckhardt
The Prayers of the Desperate Avail Much
- —PSALM 34:15–19
We all go through hard times—some more desperate than others. Sometimes we look over into other people’s lives and it seems like things are going well, but even they have trouble. None of us is exempt. As the Bible says, He “sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45), and what we suffer is common among all people (1 Cor. 10:13). But as a believer you have a special advantage. Because of Jesus, you can boldly approach the throne of God and find help in your time of need. You do not have to wait for permission. You don’t have to wait for someone else to pray for you. You can go before God and petition for His grace, favor, comfort, strategy, help, wisdom, encouragement, and answers for yourself. And what I’ve come to tell you is that when you pray, He hears you. He will come and answer and deliver you from all of your troubles.
But this is something you already know. You picked up this book because you are facing a season in your life like none other. You may not have ever seen times like this. What you are facing is something that has been showing up on your prayer list day after day, month after month, and year after year. You know that God hears you, but somehow the answer, the breakthrough, the release has not come, and you are getting more desperate by the day to hear from God.
It has been some years since I last wrote a book on prayer, but being a pastor and traveling the world, I’ve become acquainted with the prayers of the saints. The prayers and cries of the people of God from around the world for God to intervene on their behalf have motivated me to write this book, which I pray will be a tool and resource we can use to bring us victory in our most challenging and difficult times.
There seems to be trouble on every side for some of us—long-term illness, financial struggles, addiction, abuse, relationship problems, and loved ones who are far from God. We are also praying for fruitfulness, expansion, and increase in our callings and ministries—and not just for our benefit. We have a burden to bring forth the glory and majesty of God in our lives in order to impact the world around us. We know that when God brings deliverance and blessing to our lives, we are then able to be a blessing to others. So we pray, day after day, month after month, and year after year, asking, seeking, and knocking.
What’s the Holdup?
If we realize that God knows our needs before we even pray about them and that if He hears our prayers we have what we have asked, what could be the holdup in this particular area you’ve been praying about for so long? Where is the breakthrough? Where is the manifestation? Where is the increase? Where is the fruit? Where is the healing?
In this book we are going to look at several scenarios that may apply to where you are with God in this time of desperation. Most of the delay in prayer has to do with demonic forces, of course. Then there are other circumstances when we have made bad decisions and have to deal with the consequences. And still in other cases, God is delaying our breakthrough in order to bring us to a place where we can handle the thing He is trying to bring about in our lives.
To bring revelation to what God may be doing in your life, we are going to look at the life of Hannah. In her time of desperation, anguish, and torment in praying for a son, God was leading her to make a vow. We are going to look at the people of Israel and what God needed to do in their lives before they crossed the Jordan and went into the Promised Land. Then we are going to explore the reign of King Josiah and what God needed to purge from the land before the temple could be restored to its full function and purpose. We are also going to see what happens in heaven when the prayers of the saints reach a tipping point and how those prayers are instrumental in bringing relief from the desperate times all over the world.
The Blessing of Desperation
Believe it or not, there are blessings that come in seasons of desperation. Without them we would not have the spiritual strength and character to withstand the weight of God’s glory. Neither would we have the depth of anointing needed to minister to others and bring the glory of God to the nations.
God desires to bring restoration and revival to every aspect of our lives. It is also His ultimate plan to fill the earth with His glory. And I love that it is our desperate prayers that bring it all to pass.
If you are desperate for God to answer a long-overdue prayer, if you feel that He has forgotten you, and if it seems your destiny, dreams, purpose, and vision are held up or will not manifest, I want to encourage you not to give in to the voice of the enemy. God does hear your prayers. He will answer. He will help you. He will deliver you and bring His plans to pass in your life. Keep asking. Keep seeking. Keep knocking. It is often at your lowest point that you are closest to your greatest miracle.
Prayer Strategies for Desperate Times
This book will show you five major prayer strategies that show up in the lives of men and women of God whose backs were against the wall. They prayed prayers that got results, and through their times of desperation they learned to do the following:
- Get even more desperate. Don’t hide your feelings from God. Get to the house of God, the house of worship, and pour your heart out to Him. I am reminded of the time King David said, “I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes” (2 Sam. 6:22, NIV), in response to his wife’s judgment of his actions in the presence of the Lord. Don’t let people tell you it doesn’t take all that praying and worshipping and crying and dancing to get God’s attention. Sometimes you need to get loud for God to hear you over the crowd and for Him to walk in your direction and ask, “What do you want Me to do for you?” (See Luke 18:35–43.)
- Persevere. Don’t give up or give in to the taunts and torment of the enemy. Keep pressing and praying. Your prayers will reach a tipping point in heaven, and angels will be released to act in the heavenlies on your behalf.
- Seek God’s presence. As you seek God, He will reveal to you the truth of His Word. He will give you direction about the things that need to be purged from your life so you can be restored and revived.
- Make a vow to God and keep it. All that God does for His people is based on covenant. The faithful ones receive the blessing of His covenant instead of the curses. Recommitting yourself to God is a way to have the blessings of heaven poured out over your life.
- Prophesy. As you come out of the wilderness, and as God brings deliverance in answer to your prayers, you will be filled with joy and gladness. Your faith will grow to new levels, and you will begin to believe God beyond what He has done for you. You will begin to see visions of God’s favor, mercy, and most of all, His glory reaching out to the ends of the earth. You will begin to believe for the desperate times we are facing as a planet to be eradicated.
I have also included prayers and declarations at the end of each chapter to help you pray through what the Lord reveals to you about the strategies presented. The one thing you want to develop more than anything else in your life as a believer is your prayer life. Prayer is the primary way that we talk to and hear God. It is the gateway to worship, prophecy, direction, wisdom, and so much more. This book will help you to become strong in prayer no matter what situations you face in life.
Desperate Prayers Give You the Last Word Over the Enemy
When all options are exhausted and everything you were holding on to has failed, God steps in. He hears your cries. He has not forgotten His promise to you. He never turns away the desperate. Your days of weeping are over.
No matter where you are in your life, how bad things may look, or what situation you find yourself in, I am here to let you know that you will prophesy again. You will have the last word over the enemy.
God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He didn’t give us the stories in the Bible to put us to sleep at night. He gave them to us to build our faith in the impossible and so we can declare, “If He did it for Hannah, Josiah, David, the people of Israel, and the blind beggar on the roadside, He will do it for me!”
God likes shutting up the devil. God doesn’t like when evil and wickedness torment the lives of His people. He is righteous and holy and will break the power of the enemy. When God sees you in your desperate condition, He looks upon you with mercy and compassion. He heals the brokenhearted. He lifts up the lowly. He looks out for those who are down and have no bread. To those who are weak, He says, “I will give you My strength.”
This book is for desperate people in desperate situations who can’t go on if God doesn’t step in and do something miraculous—quickly. I pray that what you read in these next several chapters will give you what you need to press in more, persist more, and believe more for the miracles God will perform in response to this season you are facing. Let God do His work in you so that you can experience a level of blessing that outmatches the troubles you will overcome.
Your Name Is Favor
—1 SAMUEL 1:9–11
Hannah is one of the most recognizable women in the Bible. She is remembered as an amazing woman and the mother of one of Israel’s greatest prophets. But before she was recognized in history as such, her situation looked bleak. In the Hebrew culture at that time, as well as in many cultures today, it was believed that a woman was blessed if she had a large number of children. If she was infertile or barren, it was a sign that she was not blessed. Hannah’s husband, Elkanah, had two wives. His other wife, Peninnah, had children while Hannah did not. In her community Hannah was considered a failure, forgotten, or cursed by God.
To make matters worse, Peninnah tormented and mocked Hannah because Hannah had no children. Her adversary was the other wife. Can you imagine? It is not an ideal situation for any woman to have to share her husband with another woman. I would imagine that most women would have a hard time if their husband came home with a second wife. The response wouldn’t only be, “Oh, no! She’s not moving in!” It would most likely also be, “You’re moving out!” However, in Hannah’s time, it was common for wealthy men to have more than one wife. David had many wives, eight of whom were named in the Bible. His son Solomon had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines—one thousand women (1 Kings 11:3)! No wonder he left out of here crazy!
As we can see from many stories in the Bible, when there is more than one woman involved in a marriage situation and one cannot bear children, there is a lot of jealousy, taunting, and strife. Consider the stories of Rachel and Leah (Gen. 29:31–30:24) and Sarah and Hagar (Gen. 16:1–9; 21:9–12). The shame of being barren in these cases and even into our modern times can be overwhelming. This is where we enter Hannah’s story.
When Your Life Doesn’t Look Like Your Name
What’s interesting about Hannah is that despite what was happening to her in the natural, her name carries special meaning in the spirit. In Hebrew her name means “grace,” and it is derived from another Hebrew word, chanan, which means “favor” or “favored.” The name Hannah is a variation of the name Anna, who was another praying prophet in the New Testament. Anna also prayed and fasted in the temple night and day and prophesied about the birth of a child—Jesus, who was also called the great Prophet (Luke 7:16), like Samuel was. Both names—Hannah and Anna—mean “grace” and “favor.”
Just to remind you, in both Hebrew and Greek the words translated as “grace” are connected to God’s acceptance, loving-kindness, goodwill, and mercy given to us. They are also used in connection with the special empowerment we as believers receive from the Holy Spirit to perform certain abilities that draw people into the kingdom. We call them gifts of the Spirit. (See 1 Corinthians 12.) The Greek word for “gifts” in this context is charisma, which means “divine grace.”
Grace is closely connected to favor.
Favor is defined as “approval, support, or liking for someone or something; an act of kindness beyond what is due or usual; [to] feel or show approval or preference for; (often used in polite requests) give someone (something desired).” It means “to give special regard to; to treat with goodwill; to show exceptional kindness to someone. Sometimes, it means to show extra kindness in comparison to the treatment of others; that is, preferential treatment.” Favor is also “friendly regard shown toward another especially by a superior; gracious kindness; an act of such kindness; aid, assistance.” To a Christian, favor with God is what He bestows upon you or gives you.
When someone uses their power, influence, position, wealth, authority, and words to help and bless you, that is favor—and it doesn’t depend on anything you’ve done. Favor is unmerited, meaning you don’t deserve it but it is given to you anyway. God is a God of favor; He loves to bless His people simply because He is a good Father.
Knowing what we know about Hannah, and after understanding what grace and favor mean, it is strange to encounter Hannah in 1 Samuel 1 at the beginning of her story, when she is experiencing neither grace nor favor. Realize that people during this time named their children based on what happened at the time of their birth or with special insight into their character. Therefore, we can come to the conclusion that grace and favor were the essence of Hannah’s identity. Her father or mother saw that grace was a part of who she was or would be. She was favored by God. His grace was to be upon her life.
But at the beginning of 1 Samuel 1, it does not seem as though Hannah is experiencing grace or favor from God, because her womb was shut up. She had no children. I imagine Hannah saying, “My name is favor, but it seems as if God has not favored me. Here’s another woman who has children, and she torments me.” From her perspective, this is not the favor of God that she was supposed to live out.
So what do you do when it seems as though your life is not being lived in the way that reflects the name you were given or, maybe more relatable to us in this time, the call of God on your life? You are chosen, called out, anointed, and in covenant with God. You are the favored of the Lord. His favor, grace, and blessing should be apparent in your life. But here you are—no productivity, no fruitfulness, no increase, and no multiplication. Your name is Hannah. Your name is favor. Your name is grace. But there is no demonstration of the favor or grace of God in your life. It looks like everything in your life is the opposite of what it should be. And to make things worse, the enemy is mocking and tormenting you. This was Hannah’s condition. The devil was using Peninnah to mock, laugh at, and torment Hannah.
Peninnah is an example of how the devil can speak through people and cause them to be so cruel. Under his influence, people have no compassion and can be so arrogant and unmerciful. Peninnah was saying, “Look at me. I have plenty of children. Look at you; you have nothing. You’re barren.” Sometimes when you’re in a bad situation people say things to you and don’t realize they are being used by the enemy.
Be careful not to be a Peninnah.
Sometimes we are the Peninnahs in other people’s lives. We hope and pray with Hannah-like desires but don’t realize that bitterness has set in due to our deferred hope. Or we may have already received our miracle but forgotten what the waiting time was like.
Whatever your position, be careful not to mock, and don’t despise people who are going through. You may end up looking up to them when God takes them from the low place to the high place. Be careful who you laugh at. Sometimes pride causes those of us who are doing well to laugh at those who are not doing well. Sometimes those of us who are blessed will point the finger at others who don’t seem to be blessed, saying they’re nobodies. But God is the one who weighs the actions and the hearts of people.
Do you know what else I’ve learned from this story after reading and studying it many times? Despite the mocking, tormenting, and laughing—anything the enemy means for evil—God can turn it all around for your good. I love that about Him. He takes nobodies, those whom the devil laughs at, those whom the devil beats down, who feel like they are losers and like there is no hope, and those who feel like they will never be anything and that giving up is the best option—He takes those particular people, changes their situation, and gives them a miracle.
It’s Time to Reclaim Your Name
There is a point in the process when you can get worn down from standing in faith against the attacks of the enemy. The Bible says that Hannah was “in bitterness of soul” (1 Sam. 1:10, KJV) from constantly hearing accusations of failure. This means that she was in deep depression. She was brokenhearted. She had a heart full of grief. She was sad and deeply distressed, and she couldn’t shake those feelings.
Have you ever had people tell you to just shake it, and you try to shake it but you can’t? Maybe they say, “Be strong. Don’t worry. It’s going to be all right. Believe God.” And maybe you do believe God, but you are still in bitterness of soul over your current state. Of course it doesn’t help that the enemy stays in your face telling you you’re a failure, you’re barren. And let’s not forget that you are aware of who you have been called to be in the midst of the hardship. Your name is favor, but in this season, your life isn’t lining up with that name.
I want to encourage you here with something I believe Hannah held on to despite her feelings: God had not forgotten her, and God has not forgotten you. It may seem as though God is blessing everybody except you, even the unrighteous. You are serving, tithing, worshipping, praying, prophesying, speaking in tongues, running up and down the aisle, and waving flags. You’ve got swords of the Spirit out, poking demons. You’re lifting your hands. You’re turning around telling five folks, “I’ve got the victory.” You’re living clean. You resist temptation. You haven’t walked away from God. You are doing everything you know to do, but it looks like there’s still no breakthrough in your life. But God has a plan. For a season God lets the enemy think you’re going lose, but like He did with His Son, He will cause your dreams and desires to be resurrected with a whole new level of power.
Remember, in the spirit, your very name is favor, and it is time to reclaim your name. Even though it looks as though there’s no favor in your life and that things are not changing, if you call upon the Lord, He will answer you. If you ask, you will receive. If you seek, you will find. If you knock, it will be opened to you.
I believe when the Bible says, “So Hannah rose up…” (1 Sam. 1:9, KJV), this is where Hannah regained the boldness and courage to go after what she knew was hers. In 1 Samuel 1:7–11 we can see five specific actions Hannah took to reclaim the promise of her name and release a new level of fruitfulness in her life. These are the actions you will need to take as well.
1. Don’t give up.
- This man [Elkanah] went up out of his city annually to worship and to sacrifice to the LORD of Hosts in Shiloh....Now her [Hannah’s] rival [Peninnah] provoked her greatly, making her miserable because the LORD had closed her womb. Thus it was yearly, when she went up to the house of the LORD, that she provoked her. So Hannah wept and did not eat.
The Bible says that yearly Hannah, Elkanah, and Peninnah would go to the temple to offer sacrifices. Yearly Hannah was without child. Yearly Peninnah tormented her, and yearly Hannah put her petition for a son before the Lord. Hannah did not give up. Previously we discussed what it’s like to feel weighed down by the onslaught of attacks from the enemy combined with the feeling of not having your prayers answered. I mentioned briefly that God has a plan in this for us. A lot of times, we lose perspective in the midst of the battle. Sometimes the battle wages long, and we want to give up. This is what the enemy wants you to do. He is hoping you will get tired and quit. He wants us to doubt God. He wants us to get discouraged about our power and authority over him. He wants us to lose sight of the reality that through Christ, we already have the victory.
I believe that God is going to give you a new level of strength and courage to endure. You may be wondering why God would allow you to live through such a difficult season. It has been my experience that God allows us to go through certain seasons for a period of time to teach us how to fight. The Bible says that God trains our hands for war (Ps. 144:1). In seasons like the one Hannah was in, we learn valuable lessons in persistence and faith. God wants us to learn how to stand in Him and the power of His might (Eph. 6:10). As the saying goes, with each new level He brings you to there is a new level of demonic opposition. Some of the men and women of God we admire—giants in the faith—had to overcome significant hardships to arrive at the place we see them in.
This is the core lesson in Hannah’s story: She did not give up. Year after year, in the face of endless taunts, mocking, and accusation, she continued her pursuit for what she knew the Lord willed for her life.
First Samuel 1:7–8 says that “yearly, when she went up to the house of the LORD…she [Peninnah] provoked her. So Hannah wept and did not eat. Then said Elkanah her husband to her, ‘Hannah, why are you weeping? And why do you not eat?’”
In my book God’s Covenant With You for Deliverance and Freedom, I talk about times when we are in a long war against stubborn demons. Barrenness, infertility, unfruitfulness, and unproductivity—both in the natural and in the spirit—are stubborn demons that can plague a person year after year, as they did Hannah. As God’s Word suggests, we should take the attacks of these demonic spirits seriously, just as Hannah did. She saw that these demons came to steal the seed of the word of the Lord over her life, so she went into a season of fasting. She did not eat. Perhaps she saw that what she was up against would not “come out except by prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29).
I realize that this part of her situation could be read in a way that suggests she wasn’t eating because she was so burdened by her condition. But I believe the Lord put this here so that we could take from Hannah’s story both interpretations and realize that if we want to see a demon as stubborn as barrenness broken off our lives, we need to push back from the table, sacrifice a meal or two or however many it takes, get alone with God, and pray.
Fasting has a way of humbling our flesh and allowing the Spirit of God to arise within us. As we are humbled before Him and awaiting our victory, His grace can be our strength. The Bible says that “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).
Hannah was at her lowest, and she reduced herself even more when she fasted. She was positioning herself to be restored to living according to the full meaning of her name. She was getting in position to have the grace and favor of God released into her life.
3. Worship and weep
- Once after a sacrificial meal at Shiloh, Hannah got up and went to pray. Eli the priest was sitting at his customary place beside the entrance of the Tabernacle. Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the LORD.
- —1 SAMUEL 1:9–10, NLT
The word tabernacle in this verse also means “temple” or “sanctuary,” which is why you see it translated differently depending on the Bible version you read. The sanctuary of God, the temple, or the house of the Lord is where His presence dwells. If you know anything about being in the presence of God, then you know you can come broken, anguished, and in deep “bitterness of soul” (v. 10, KJV) and know that you will be met with His miraculous glory.
Worship is the gateway to the glory of God, and there are many forms of worship. Some include the shedding of tears and deep supplication as we come recognizing the greatness of who He is and that He is all-powerful and all-knowing. I see this demonstrated in barak worship, which is expressed through kneeling and bowing before the Lord, crying out for His deliverance. (See Psalm 72:12–15.)
Worship is often equated with joy, but sometimes in our darkest times we must choose to enter the presence of God despite how we feel. In an article titled “Weeping in Worship,” Emily Barnhardt says this:
- Worship has the power to gently touch a bleeding place of deep, aching despair within us, in a way that activates a persevering hope in our minds and in our spirits, amidst that pain. Worship, alone, enables us to lift our eyes above deep sorrow, to gaze at Him, instead. And gazing at Him reminds us of His character, His goodness, and His promises, which leads us to joy—a type of joy that can surpass all understanding and overpower even the deepest depths of our grief and pain.
In seasons like this, our recognition of His place over our troubles and approaching Him with this awareness is worship. Hannah worshipped, wept, and cried out to the Lord in His holy temple. She came to the house of the Lord and made her request known to Him because she knew He was the only One who had the power to deliver her.
We can count on God’s glory to be the place where there is healing of all our diseases, restoration from the desolation of the enemy, and even fruitfulness for the barren. Hannah had a relationship with God and knew that if she wanted to see her hopes and dreams realized, she needed to get in His presence.
This is why I am excited to go into the house of God every week. The release of God’s glory in His sanctuary is one of the more miraculous and life-giving things we can experience as believers. The opportunity we have to experience the glory and presence of God in His temple is validation enough for the verse that encourages us not to “forsake the assembling of ourselves together” (Heb. 10:25). I know there are some who feel like they don’t have to come to a physical building to worship, and that’s fine. We know that because of the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2) we are now ourselves temples (1 Cor. 6:19). But let’s not overlook the power of God that is released in corporate worship in an alive and glory-filled church.
If you have been wrestling in prayer and desire to see tremendous breakthrough in your life, get to a church that does not hinder the flow of God’s presence and glory and begin to cry out to God, recognizing His power, majesty, and glory.
- And she...prayed to the LORD.
As part of her worship and in the midst of her weeping, Hannah prayed. Philippians 4:6–7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude, make your requests known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will protect your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Hannah was not only going after what she desired; she was also pursuing peace. Year after year she had been discouraged and beaten down. Anxiety may have tried to get her to focus on Peninnah and her lack, but Hannah remained steadfast in putting her requests before the Lord.
The Bible says that when Hannah prayed, her lips moved but no sound came out, and the priest thought she was drunk (1 Sam. 1:13). She let him know that she was not drunk, but after having poured out her soul to the Lord in such heavy grief for as long as she had, I imagine that there was not much more she had words for. Now she only prayed from deep within, from a silent place of desperation.
We know that God hears what people can’t hear. Not everyone will hear your deepest cry when you are in such anguish that you don’t even know what to say. God doesn’t need words. God looks at the heart. And when God sees your condition, He comes and answers you.
5. Make a vow of surrender.
When it looks like everything is falling apart and you have no strength, joy, or power, that’s when God says, “Now I can step in with My strength and power. Now I can do for you what you cannot do for yourself.” Our God is a God of miracles. Our God is the God of breakthrough. Our God is a God who will not despise your condition if you cry out to Him in surrender.
I will talk about why this is one of the most significant aspect of Hannah’s story in the next chapter, as it is tied to being in a place of desperation, but I want to touch on it here because this was the last step Hannah took just before the man of God pronounced a blessing over her that God would grant her request (v. 17). She made a vow to God that if He would give her a son, she would give him back to God.
- So she made a vow and said, “O LORD of Hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant, and remember me and not forget Your maidservant, but will give to Your maidservant a baby boy, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”
- —1 SAMUEL 1:11
Sometimes one of the most powerful things you can do is to make a vow to God and keep it: “God, if You do this for me, I’ll serve You. I’ll worship You all the days of my life.” Don’t ever make a vow and forget to keep your promise when God grants your request. Hannah’s desperation was matched by her gratefulness to God when He granted her petition. She kept her vow and birthed one of the greatest prophets Israel had ever known. She received the answer to her prayers, and Israel experienced one of the greatest prophetic movements in its history. For seventy years before Samuel came on the scene, Israel had not heard from God. Through prayer Hannah not only received what she wanted; she also opened a portal to the heavenlies that had never been seen before or since.
In doing these five things Hannah drew the favor of God back into her life like a magnet. Pursuing God and what He has for you without quitting; fasting, which brings humility; worshipping; praying; and making a commitment of surrender and obedience open the heavens so the favor of God will return to your life. I call them favor magnets. Other ways you can begin to attract favor into your life include living with integrity, giving, extending mercy, exercising wisdom, dwelling in the glory of God, engaging in praise and worship, and living with humility, faith, and righteousness. Meditate on these actions. Investigate how Hannah exhibited them. Then ask God for wisdom and courage to carry out these actions in your life.
You Will Prophesy Again
First Samuel 2 is Hannah’s prophetic declaration to the nations of God’s faithfulness. God had opened her womb, and she bore a son, just as she desired. So now in 1 Samuel 2:1 she begins to testify and proclaim the goodness of the Lord and His faithfulness to deliver His people out of all their troubles. She says, “My heart rejoices in the LORD; my horn is exalted in the LORD. My mouth is bold against my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation.” The King James Version put it this way: “My mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.” In other words, you will have the last word. The enemy has been talking and talking, but God is about to bring you to a place of victory and authority, to where your mouth is going to be enlarged over your enemies.
Listen, God does not put these stories in the Bible for our entertainment. God wants to show us the record of His faithfulness from one generation to the next. He wants us to know that what He did for them in the past He will do for us now. His Word and the testimonies of the saints are proof of that. He is saying, “I’m the same God then as I am now. I still do miracles now, and I put Hannah’s story in My Word so you can read it and be encouraged.”
God doesn’t like ugly.
Look at 1 Samuel 2:2. It starts with, “There is none holy as the LORD.” This verse points out one of my favorite things about God: He is righteous. His righteousness won’t allow people to be mistreated without consequences. It’s not in the Bible, but my mother used to say, “God don’t like ugly.” It’s true. God does not like when we mistreat each other. When you think about what you’ve been through and the people in your life who were like Peninnah in Hannah’s, know that God is watching and He doesn’t like what’s been happening. So in essence He says, “I don’t just deliver you for you. I also do it because I don’t like what the enemy has done to you. He’s been a bully. He’s been beating up on you.”
When God sees people who have been beaten up, beaten down, and tormented, He takes it personally. He says, “I’ll be your defender. I’ll be your Savior. I’ll be your deliverer. I’ll step in when you can’t fight your own battle. I’ll say, ‘The battle is not yours; it belongs to Me.’ I’ll step in and deal with your situation just to shut up the enemy.” God likes shutting up the devil. Because He is holy and righteous, He hates evil, wickedness, sin, and pride.
Hannah prophesied about this very attribute of God that manifested in her situation. In verse 3 she prophesied to those who are proud and arrogant—the Peninnahs of the world. Hannah was speaking the word of the Lord, saying, “Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed” (KJV). Because Peninnah had a few children, she thought she was somebody. She thought she was better than Hannah. She thought she was the best thing happening in her husband’s life. But God saw her pride and the way she treated Hannah, and Hannah knew God would go before her to bring justice on her behalf. In verse 4 she declared, “The bows of the mighty men are broken” (KJV). In other words, God is a God who can break the power of the proud.
What’s great about what Hannah was doing is that she was not only prophesying about her own situation. She was giving a word to generations to come. She was telling them that not only does God hate pride, arrogance, and when prideful and arrogant people put others down, but He is going to do something about it. When He sees those who stumble and are downtrodden, He comes and girds them with strength (v. 4). He will come and lift up the weak, frail, and depressed, those who are in a low place. And He is going to pull down the mighty.
Sometimes we’ve been down so long, we’ve been praying so long without any relief, that we beat ourselves up, thinking that God doesn’t love us. We feel that we are not the strong Christians we’re supposed to be and that God is not pleased with us. When God sees us in that situation, His heart of mercy and compassion is moved to do something on our behalf. God heals the brokenhearted and lifts up the lowly. He looks out for those who are down, those who have no bread, and those who are weak. He says, “I will give you My strength.”
God will lift you up when you can’t lift yourself up. God hears your prayers. He hears your cries. He sees your situation. He has not forgotten about you. When it’s all over, you will prophesy, just as Hannah did. God is going to open your mouth. Hannah went from praying inaudible prayers to prophesying. She had been in a place where she couldn’t even find words to pray. Her lips just moved. But then in 1 Samuel 2 we find her boldly declaring the word of the Lord—and not just for her generation but for generations to come.
God will take you from a place where you aren’t able to say anything; He will put His word in your mouth, and the word you prophesy will go forth unto generation after generation. I am here to encourage you that despite what you are going through that is causing you to feel low and silenced, God will deliver you, and you will prophesy again. Do you believe it?
Your Samuel Is Coming Forth
Say this aloud: “My Samuel is coming forth.” I hear the Lord saying, “I’m about to give some of you your Samuels. The prophetic is about to be birthed out of you. The prophetic is about to be released out of you.” If you show me somebody who is or has been used mightily by God, I’ll show you somebody who has been through something, somebody who has been mocked, talked about, and laughed at. They were not always on top, but God specializes in bringing people from the bottom. He hates pride and arrogance. Therefore He gives special grace to those who are down and lifts up the poor. This is why I love, worship, and praise Him. He is the same today, yesterday, and forever. If He blessed and delivered Hannah, He will bless and deliver you. Get your eyes off people and get your eyes on God. He has called you favor, so get ready as He brings your life in line with whom He has named you. Your Samuel will come forth.
We learned five actions from Hannah—don’t give up; fast; worship and weep; pray; and make a vow. In the next chapter and throughout the rest of this book, we are going to look at types of prayer and principles of prayer that break you out of desperate situations. We are going to break down the prayer component to give you more tools in your prayer arsenal as you get in position to see the power and blessing of God manifest in your life.
Prayers to Release the Blessing of Hannah
Father, I pray today that every Samuel that has been locked up in my womb be birthed in the name of Jesus. Open my womb, that I may not be barren or fruitless anymore.
I have been mocked and laughed at by the enemy. I’ve been made to feel ashamed. But I decree that today is my day for breakthrough.
Today is a day of birthing. Today my womb will be opened. Today my dream will come forth. My vision will come forth. My hope and desire will come forth. I prophesy it today in the name of Jesus.
I declare that my name is favor. My name is grace.
God is exalting me over the enemy. The enemy will no longer laugh at me and mock me. God will not let me be put to shame.
The same miracle that Hannah received will come forth unto me now in the name of Jesus.
I declare that I will have a Hannah-like breakthrough, and I will prophesy again.
Lord, I believe the words You have spoken to me. I will not live in a low place. I will live in a blessed place.
I am not cursed. I am blessed.
I will bring forth. I will not be barren. I will have children. I will multiply. I will be promoted. I will be exalted.
What the enemy meant for evil, You’re turning around for my good.
I believe, Lord, that You are holy. You are righteous. You see my situation. I trust in You. You are my strength. You are my victory. You are my breakthrough.
I declare that everything I am meant to birth will come forth into its prophetic destiny.
The fruit of my womb is blessed.
Let my prayers birth a seed that will be extraordinary, unusual, different, holy, and prophetic.
I release my faith. I am blessed. I am prosperous. God will do great things in my life.
My mouth will be enlarged over my enemies.
I will not be ashamed. I will not be a failure.
My name is favor. The favor of God is on my life. I will walk in the favor and grace of God in the days to come.
I believe that fruitfulness returns to my life today in Jesus’s name.
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