Two Words That Will Change Your Life In 2013
It’s that time of year again, isn’t it? Time for everyone to start making their annual New Year’s resolutions. Yeah, yeah, yeah… I know. Not you. You’re above all that silly nonsense. But let’s be honest for a minute. Even if you have resolved not to make any resolutions, there is something about that end of the calendar year that sparks hope within all of us. Even though it’s really nothing more than the turn of a page we all want to believe that the new year will usher in a better year. And whether it’s weight loss or some other commitment, the bottom line is that we are looking for change. We want the new year to be different from the previous year.
The problem for most of us is that the change we so desperately seek doesn’t come without some sort of sacrifice or significant commitment. In other words, it will cost us something. And that something usually involves both time and effort. In the beginning that’s not a problem. But by the second week of January the flair has worn off and the results we were seeking haven’t been realized so we give in and give up. Commitment becomes compromise. Passion is lost to procrastination. Resolutions are replaced by resignation. And once again, we settle. We settle for the ways things were. We settle for the way things have always been. We settle for less than God intended for us to be, know, and have.
Hannah had lived with pain and disappointment for a long, long time. Take a look back at 1 Samuel 1 if you need to refresh your memory. She was barren. She had a protagonist who constantly reminded her of that fact. Her husband loved her but he seemingly did nothing to protect her. The annual trip to worship the Lord had become a time of personal torture at the hands of the other wife. Instead of celebrating, Hannah was crying. Instead of feasting, Hannah was fasting. Bottom line? She was deeply depressed and miserable over a situation that was beyond her control. Get the picture? If ever there was a person who wanted change, it was Hannah. The only problem was that no resolution was going to make it happen. She could roll up her sleeves and be determined until the cows came home. But it wasn’t happening. No amount of time or effort would change a thing. God had closed her womb. And what God has closed no man (or woman) can open.
But here’s where the story completely changes. Instead of giving up and giving in Hannah tried a different approach. She made one simple choice that changed everything. One act that set everything into motion. Curious? Take a look at verse 10, “She, greatly distressed, prayed to the Lord…” Those two small words made all the difference. “She prayed…” No resolutions. No commitments. No extra effort or extended periods of time. No self-determination. Hannah prayed. And that one simple prayer became the catalyst that forever changed the course of her life.
Prayer? Is it really that simple? Yes. The Bible says, “Ask, and it will be given to you.” The Bible says, “All things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.” The Bible says, “You do not have because you do not ask.” The Bible says, “How much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” From beginning to end the Bible is filled with story after story of a loving and gracious God who supernaturally and miraculously answered the prayers of His people. So… The only question that really remains is why do we let so many things keep us from praying?
In closing, let me say that I don’t want to minimize your pain. I don’t want to make your current situation and need seem insignificant. They’re not. They are important to you and they matter to God. But I do want to remind us all of something crucial today. Prayer changes things. Hannah prayed and her life was forever changed. Didn’t mean it was perfect. Didn’t mean she never had another problem or struggle. But it does mean that everything was different. She prayed and God answered. As you and I head into this new year I want to encourage us to remember the power of prayer and, more importantly, the power of the God who hears our prayers. Instead of making resolutions follow Hannah’s example. Pray. And let God change everything.