You got anybody sick in your house? Have you got anybody that, as I said for the last few weeks, that you wish that they would hear the message? Pray for them! Don’t prey on them! Pray for them. I believe in the power of prayer. This is a testimony to that power. It’s Mother’s Day today, and I thought I would share some advice with men who have become fathers recently, who will be celebrating Mother’s Day in a whole new way this year. Guys, don’t buy her clothes; anything that has a size on it will be taken the wrong way. I know you went into the store with good intentions and said, “I’ll buy it just a little bit bigger,” and then when you give it to her she’s just going to say, “Really?” Don’t buy it too small because then she’s going to say, “Wow, really? Hmm.” Don’t buy her jewelry, because the chances of you buying the right kind of jewelry that she wants are slim and none. You probably can’t spend that much in a year anyway. Speaking of spending, if you spend too much she will know that there will be no more date night for the next year. If you spend too little she’s going to think, “What was he thinking?” Oh, one last thing; don’t buy her anything that’s for cleaning, household chores, or cooking that “might make her life easier,” because you will be facing a woman that looks like the government shutdown in crisis, and you’ll be waiting a long time for your paycheck. That’s all I’m saying, a little advice. Anyway, that was all gratuitous, but I gave you the funny stuff because the heavy stuff and the reality is being a parent, whether you’re a mother or father is challenging. And I honestly, I think I’ve said this every year but I think that every year it gets more and more challenging, it must be to raise children, especially in an age of technology, again a blessing and a curse all at once. But for some today this is a day of, kind of, we’ll call it triumph for single moms who are raising their kids, managing, raising the kids and working and everything all at once. For others this day could be a day of reflection for those individuals who are no longer with us, a day of gratitude for your mom being well and healthy, praise God. And it also can be a day to reflect for some of us on the spiritual commitment of our parents, and specifically because it’s Mother’s Day, what may or may not have been there. And for some you were raised in a very blessed home, because you had a believing mother who loved the word of God and essentially and hopefully placed those wonderful treasures in front of you, the Bible and how to pray and things like that. Some of us, others of us aren’t so fortunate in that way but I look back and I think, and I’ve said this probably every single year; I have learned that what I know now that I wish I would have understood when I was younger. I don’t think, even though there are books, and today’s world of technology it’s at your fingertips, but there is no roadmap for you individually as a parent per se apart from the Bible, but apart from that in everyday living it is a challenge. And I think for some who feel maybe their; their mothers didn’t live up to the, what they thought should have been the bar, ease up a little bit. Look back and say you still came out pretty good, and that was most likely because of your parents, whether or not they were your idea or not. As you get older you realize hey, it’s just tough being in the world, period. Imagine raising children and doing the best you can. I look back and I say, “My folks did the best that they could.” When I was young I might have, or younger I might have said things like, “I don’t think it’s fair, or it’s not right, or it could have been better,” but the reality is it could have been worse. It was justly fair, and God paved the pathway for me that in spite of all the things that weren’t or could have been, I’m standing in front of you saying He still led the way. And I look back and say He’s guided me, and many of you can say the same thing. But we have to have a little bit of gratitude; the Bible does say you are to honor your folks. A lot of people think that that in this day and age does not exist, and maybe it doesn’t; maybe there is no honor anywhere. I know for me personally I tried to find some people in history that would give some insight for me to be, to launch my message because I’m not really too much into topical sermons as you know. It’s not something that I really like to do. But I spent the week studying some church history and that prompted me to share with you something, which is the precursor to my message. If I said that name Susanna Annesley it might not mean that much to you. Susanna Annesley was the twenty-fifth daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Annesley, who is better known to us as Susanna Wesley the mother of Charles and John, basically of the Methodist faith. And I was actually studying the lives, because I usually try and spend time each week, sometimes it carries over week after week studying different parts of church history and focusing on different areas. And I was really fascinated by her particularly because they had a massive family, I believe nineteen children, ten of which survived to adulthood, which means in their forty-four years of marriage they buried nine children, suffered through poverty, illness, their home being burnt down twice, and a little bit of a tumultuous marriage in that Samuel, Susanna’s husband would often be gone for long periods of time. He was an Anglican minister, but his beginnings in ministry were very rocky, and he would take whatever he could that sometimes sent him far away, which left her to raise the children. And if you can only imagine, I’m sure that some of those children, the one, the nine that did not make it to adulthood; she must have been alone in those hours of suffering and grief to watch her children die. But there’s something really, I say special about this woman in that she, to educate her children her focus was to give them the best understanding of the word of God. And she wrote several treaties on the Lord’s Prayer (the disciple’s prayer), the Ten Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed; she wrote several things. Although she never preached publicly, her works eventually were published but she wrote these treaties for her children. And she educated these children very strict, and as I said many times her husband was away and they actually in the history of their marriage they had a lot of shaky ground. Even for that day she was quite bold in not just completely agreeing with her husband all the time, and in today’s world that’s just the standard practice, but back in that day that was pretty much unheard of. And I think the most important thing that you see is that at the time when they were bringing children into the world in England, England was an extremely dark place, there was a lot of tumult, a lot of unrest between William king of Orange and James II, and who was the actual right king. In fact there is a story told in their marital, one of their marital problems came out of the husband Samuel praying for king William of Orange, and basically as king. When he finished his prayer she would not say “Amen” to his prayers, and that basically caused a one-year separation. So you never know what that means; she was a supporter of James II. She might have been a republican too; now they’re actually, same, the same political affiliation interestingly enough. But anyway it’s interesting how when you study church history, sometimes you’re not looking for this but you find these interesting stories of women who, particularly I’m highlighting her, but I could go back and talk to you about the mother of Augustine of Hippo and tell you that beginning. The same thing, a praying mother who earnestly prayed for her son to come to the faith and that prayer was answered eventually. Here is a mother who prayed for her children and out of these children two obviously became quite famous, Charles penning close to, Charles Wesley penning close to six thousand or over six thousand hymns. And of course John after his death essentially the Methodist movement took off and was known as Methodism. And she is referred to as “the mother of Methodism” in America. And now, I’m not obviously the movement came to America, but it started in England. And the genesis of this, you keep going back to the mother’s role, and the mother that prayed, and the mother that sought to educate her children. And as I was referring, this particular period in history was very dark, there were a lot of political issues and the church was at a pinnacle of corruption, specifically now. We’re now talking about the Anglican Church; we’re not even speaking of the Catholic Church anymore. The Anglican Church had its own issues. So it was a very dark time, and I believe that if you kind of read between the lines of her history you find that she was praying at a very dark time for her children to stay grounded in the faith. And that of course, that prayer was answered certainly by the two most known ones, but I think all of her children, save one, were some way, shape or form, effected by their upbringing and were very important foundation parts of that early church movement. That being said, there is a parallel in the Bible of a mother in a very dark time who━and I saw the parallel immediately and I said you know that’s a really good message, because not only is it a topical message for today, but it’s a great message for some who just need to take a second look at someone we’ve seen before. We’ve read her story before, but it’s an encouragement. So I’d like us to turn to the first book of Samuel. I’m going to talk to you today about Hannah. And if you’re not connecting the dots yet, I will briefly fill you in. If you get to the first book of Samuel then do me a favor, there’s a little book of Ruth between the last page of Judges, the twenty-first chapter and 1 Samuel. You got a little book of Ruth that’s, what, four chapters long. And the last line in the book of Judges 21:25 gives you insight into the pulse of where 1 Samuel picks up, because actually 1 Samuel would be almost a simultaneous, like a bridge between this last verse, where it says, “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” And it was a very dark time. There was no guidance. If you, you know the book of Judges where God appointed people to be judge or rulers over the people for a set time and then we’ve got this kind of dark period. And that’s why I was referring to what I think is a good analogy in the life church history of the Wesleys, but the priesthood was already corrupt. First, when we start in 1 Samuel, we will find out that a man by the name of Eli and his sons are corrupt. I always used to say the sons of Eli were bad, but no Eli’s equally bad, and I’ll say why in a minute. But there was corruption within. Let’s, let’s, to make the application between the two stories, if there was corruption between the priests, and we’ll call it, there was no church then, but you get the analogy. The same type of corruption that existed in the Wesleys’ day, and it’s the same type of corruption that exists today. In fact, I would go so far as to say we do live in a very similar time, dark in this respect. It seems that if you read what’s going on in the world, the Christian faith and Christians have been persecuted. I’m talking about current events; this is not like from five years ago. We’re talking about the last year, the last two years there’s been a tremendous wave of Christian persecution. And as the church globally declines, and its decline as I said is really due to the fact that there is a famine for the word of God and people don’t even know what the word of God sounds like anymore, so how can you identify with it if it’s not being preached. So we really have the same type of thing. In fact, I think this is why it’s important when I ask you and call you to prayer for something, because I believe that our prayers can change things. God is sovereign, He’s got a plan, He’s going to do what He’s got planned, but our prayers can make a difference. They’re going to make a difference for your loved ones who are sick or your friends or your family. They can make a difference for this church, for the pastor, so prayers are important and certainly there’s nothing wrong with kind of digging in and finding out that we live, as I said, in a very similar time. So let’s take a look at what happens here in 1 Samuel, and I’m at chapter 1. And I may, if you hear me reading strange, a strange version, I’ll be going between the King James and the NIV, but I’m going to start in the King James. “Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim, of the mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite: and he had two wives; the name of the of one was Hannah, and the name of other was Peninnah: Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.” And this is kind of disturbing, because as we read and we get familiar with Hannah and Peninnah’s character, it seems very unfair that the woman who is spiritual, praying and devoted is barren. It seems extremely unfair, but let’s keep reading. “This man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the LORD, were there.” It’s another interesting sidebar. These two sons bare Egyptian names. Phinehas was also the name of one of the sons of Aaron. It’s interesting that they have Egyptian names, as if this, this heritage that had been taken up with Egyptian names had been passed down. So you can already see that the priestly line, there’s corruption somewhere, but that’s a story for a different day. “And when the time was come that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters portions: but unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion,” or a double portion, “for he loved Hannah: but the LORD had shut up her womb.” So I have a question here. And this is the question that when people ask it about their situation, why does God do something like this, close up the womb of Hannah and give the one who seems completely indifferent, completely uninvolved, completely whatever and give her children? And that was, in that day, if you could not bear children, that was essentially your role: to bear children. You basically served very little purpose otherwise. “Her adversary also provoked her sore, to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.” So you can imagine that Peninnah came and basically she, she just kind of poked her the wrong way. She’d keep going and, you know. “As he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat. Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am I not better to thee than ten sons? And Hannah rose up and after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. And now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by the post at the temple of the LORD. She was in bitterness.” So one thing we know about Hannah, she is barren and now she is bitter. And it’s a weird way to start a Mother’s Day message, but I want to kind of point this out and I want to not go too much. Sometimes I have a tendency to race through things. At times in life we say, “Why is it we labor so hard?” You know, “I work so hard for Jesus, I often boast and say,” right? Why is it that the wicked prosper? That really is the question here: why is it? And why did this Peninnah woman keep provoking her? “And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.” And that’s the first thing I want you to put somewhere in your margin. Even though she was barren and she was bitter, she prayed unto the Lord. And I would say the first sign, because it’s Mother’s Day, the first sign of a mother would be she’s fervent in prayer. She’s not afraid to petition the Lord for the right things, and this particular thing she’s going to say is an exclamation mark. She could have been bitter and turned away from the Lord, but she was bitter, “in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.” And that’s the other thing I would say is how often now, in general, forget about being a mother or a daughter, how often do we pray and ask the Lord for things that we need, not the things that are what we’ll call add-ons in life. And what’s lacking; the weeping of the soul. It’s like people who say they have a great burden for something, but you’ll never see them actually moving with great emotion towards that burden. They just; it’s a statement, versus somebody who’s actually praying unto the Lord and weeping. There’s some complete movement pressing towards God that says, “This thing that I have on my heart,” and it’s not a trivial thing. For her if she did not bear children she had no purpose. That is the society of that day and age. “She vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts,” and this is the other interesting thing. It is the first time this is used here. You cannot read it in the King James, but Lord of hosts, Sabaoth, the Lord of the hosts of the stars of the heaven, the One who can muster up an army. It’s the first time it’s used here. It’s not even used in the Pentateuch. In fact, the one who uses it abundantly is Jeremiah in that exilic, post-exilic period. But here it’s used by her. It’s kind of remarkable. It’s a first used here and it’s used by her, “if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and forget not thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head. And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth.” Now let me talk about her prayer for a minute. Her prayer is one that contains a promise: “Lord, if You do this thing.” I’m going to ask you. Let’s be honest. How many times have you ever prayed to God, “Lord, if You’d just do this one thing,” and you promise something, come on now? And when it’s over, have you made good on it? Don’t lie! You’re in the house of the Lord. She had full intent on making good. Here comes Eli: “Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.” Remember, this is the guy that’s sitting on a post somewhere. My thoughts of Eli have changed. I used to say it’s just his sons that were bad, but he’s just as bad because he could have done something. Instead he’s just sitting on a post in the day of darkness, in a day of━considering the lineage in which he belonged to, in that particular line of the priests of Kohath, which were responsible for touching the things of God directly. He’s just sitting on a post, which is like a lot of people in ministry. There’s a colloquial saying about that, something about a stick. “Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee.” This is coming out of the mouth of a man who probably, sorry, should, even though he’s a priest, shouldn’t be talking, because remember, his sons are doing all kinds of debauch things with women. And he’s going to say, “But you’re drun”” to this woman. “Hannah answered and said, No, my Lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD. Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief I have spoken hitherto. Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him. And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight,” by the way, her name Hannah comes from the, if you follow the root back, her name means “grace,” “grace” or “favor.” “Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.” And it reminds me a little bit of people in the Bible who have received a blessing from God and they don’t even know that God has done something just yet, like Moses coming down off the mountain. He didn’t even know that his countenance shone, he didn’t. He had no idea as he came down. Others saw it. She immediately is changed. She went her way, no more sad. She’s essentially back up━it’s almost as though in that moment she amened, she didn’t amen Eli’s words; she amened the thing she put before God. So let this be not just a Mother’s Day message. Let this be a message for any person who has ever asked of the Lord for something that is absolutely, positively for the Lord to bring glory to the Lord. She didn’t say, “Give me a son and I’ll share him 50/50 with you. She said, “I’ll make sure no razor touches his head,” that Nazarite vow, which I think we have Samson was one, a Nazarite, and not touch any dead body, no razor come to his head except for the one that Delilah started cutting off the hair with, and to not drink wine. And I think we have at least three of them in the Bible recorded, but this is before the child is brought out of the womb. The child’s not even in the womb possibly, and she’s making this vow. “And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife.” He “knew” her that way. “And the LORD remembered her.” So let’s put a period right there. And let’s talk about her, her journey from being barren, being in bitterness, but still a woman of faith, and praying earnestly and asking for something and before it had happened even, she walked away amening it, believing it, and essentially by that act of faith being blessed by her request by God. “Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come, about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, she called his name Samuel, saying because I have asked him of the LORD.” Now I don’t know how many people would do exactly this. Every time she would call on the child’s name it would remind her, if she ever forgot and I don’t think she could, of the Lord’s grace towards her of His answer to prayer. Now listen, it’s appointed for each of us to go through things in life. I believe the pain sometimes that we suffer, and I just said with, with Hannah it seems unjust: why would Peninnah have this, she’s like a baby factory and she can produce, but she has no spiritual life in her. It doesn’t say that Peninnah and Elkanah went up to worship. It doesn’t say that Peninnah prayed. It doesn’t say that she prayed for her sister; it says she provoked her. The praying one stayed by the stuff and it means when we can’t see God’s entering in because it seems unfair or unjust, we need to remind ourselves of Hannah and keep our eyes focused on what we know the Lord is able to do because He’s able to do it. Only He can do it. He specializes in the impossible. This, of course, the child was done in a natural way. When it says “he knew her” it’s not like it was a miracle child that just appeared in her womb, but it’s still a miracle because her worm had been closed up. “Then the man Elkanah, and all his house,” I’m sure that means that Peninnah went with them; there’s no mention of her. By the way, there’s no mention of Peninnah’s sons amounting to anything anywhere. But it is the child of Hannah the praying woman, it’s the child of Hannah the godly woman, it’s the child of Hannah who dared to vow a vow before God and say, “And if this be so, Lord, the child will be brought, he will be committed,” and I can just, you know, we don’t have the between the lines per se, because it later on says she weaned him, she took him up with her, and but it doesn’t say what I can tell you between the lines I referenced about Susanna Wesley, which is she educated her children in the things of God. It doesn’t spell that out here, but I’m telling you definitively that it seems clear to me the time that she had she imparted the knowledge she had of the living God to her son. And that’s not to say because she imparted it, therefore that that child was special. That child was special because God deemed him that way. God gave that child as a gift, an answer to prayer, like people who say, “Well, do you believe that when somebody is praying that their child will enter into ministry”” which I don’t think very many people do in these days, because of what the ministry has become synonymous with over the last couple of hundred years, but certainly over the last few years. But if one were praying, it seems to me, you know we have strange ideas about things. At least this woman here, her commitment is she will present him and obviously she instructed him, she raised him up this way. Except for this, and this is an important little sidebar. Verse 22 says, “Bur Hannah went up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever.” And that’s why I said I believe not only when it says “when the child is weaned,” but I believe she would nurse the child, instruct the child, impart as much information as she had to the child, and then. “And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou hath weaned him; only the LORD establish this word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him. And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, an ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, she brought him until to the house of the LORD in Shiloh: and the child was young. And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli.” Now this is a sometimes you can’t go around things. This is the character of Hannah. For some of us, we might have said, “I’m not bringing that kid to Eli. I was hoping he would have dropped over and kicked the bucket. He thought I was drunk.” She could have had a reaction to his reaction. She could have had a reaction to the fact that it’s not going to be unknown about the choices that his sons made and that he did nothing about. And I could even see the way the devil might whisper to her, “You really want to take your child to Eli to be in his care?” This is why a lot of these messages can tie into what goes on today. The devil says, “Do you really want to put yourself out there? Do you really want to go to a church,” and here the devil will give you the rational, “well, the church is only doing this, and it’s only there for that, and people are only doing this.” There’ll be people to listen, there’ll be people who will pay attention, but then there’ll be people like Hannah. Although it doesn’t say the devil whispered anything in her ear, but she brought the child. I like the fact when it says they slew bullock, even there before we have a picture of Christ and before the coming of Christ, we have the covering of blood for the child. It’s just like there is that through the Bible that you cannot get rid of that says covered by the blood. “She said, oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying the LORD. For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: therefore I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.” Now I want to read Hannah’s prayer that happens in the second chapter. And I’m going to read it out of the NIV: “Then Hannah prayed and said, ‘My heart rejoices in the LORD; in the LORD my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” I’m not, I’m not done reading her prayer, but that’s somebody who is standing on solid ground. And my advice is not just for mothers, it’s for everybody who comes into a moment of need to have the mindset. Oh, her prayer was answered. By the way, she went back to give thanks, obviously, but her prayer was answered and this is quite, it’s a very rich prayer. “There is no other Rock like our God.” When everything else was looking bad, when I was feeling like I was forgotten by God because of my barrenness, or I was in bitterness because of Peninnah’s constant assault on me. But yet, Lord, when I prayed and promised, You answered and You blessed me with this child. “Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the LORD is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed. The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength.” And that’s what I wanted to highlight there: “those who stumbled are armed with strength,” those of us who are in weakness, those of us who are in sadness, those that are the barren ones, the unfruitful ones. What does it say: “Those who stumbled are armed with strength,” that is verse 4. What does that say in the King James: “They that stumbled are girded with strength.” It sounds just a little bit better for me from the NIV, only because it’s in our colloquial way. “Girded” reminds me too much of a girdle. Don’t buy that for your wife either! It won’t be the sofa; it will be the dog house for a long time! “Those who were full hire themselves out for food, but those who were hungry hunger no more. She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away. The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up. The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. He raises the poor from the dust, he lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.’” It’s quite a prayer, not done: “’For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’S; upon them he has set the world. He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness. It is not by strength that one prevails; those who oppose the LORD will be shattered. He will thunder against them from heaven; the LORD will judge the ends of the earth. He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.’” Let me go back to the King James: “And Elkanah went to Ramah and his house. And the child did minister unto the LORD before Eli the priest.” Now there’s several things I want to say here. One of them is it’s easy, forget about it now being Mother’s Day and let me talk to everybody, it’s easy to give up when things are tough, when things are lean. It’s like people saying, “I want to give, but I don’t have any money,” or “I want to participate, but I don’t have a car.” It’s easy to give when you have; it’s easy to talk when things are flowing freely, but what about the other way? Please remind yourself of this woman and it could have been that she could have said, “I will remain in bitterness for all the days of my life, because the Lord did not touch me, the Lord did not show me favor.” But rather, when she prayed, and this is, it’s a lesson for me as well, when she prayed, she prayed as though the Lord absolutely would, and praying for something specifically. Now I’ve said this and it bears repeating. The Lord’s not a genie-in-a-bottle. He’s not here to grant your every request. But there are things according to His purpose that we should ask for. There are things according to His purpose that we don’t ask for. So I just want you to think about her prayer, and then the flipside of this is she knew. I’m sure that most of the people knew the corruption of the priesthood. If the priesthood wasn’t as corrupt as it was, perhaps the days for the people would have been different, but it was a very corrupt time. If you keep reading, kind of a weird thing when the ark is taken, and that’s in the fourth chapter, the ark is taken and then after the fact, Eli finds out that his sons are no more. He then drops over, keels over and breaks his neck and dies. And if you think about it, Eli spent most of his time sitting on a stump somewhere. The message isn’t about Eli; the message is Hannah could have very well said, “Knowing the manner of the corruption, I cannot present my child.” She could have used any excuse. That’s what we’re good at. We’re good at making excuses. “I can’t support,” and I’m not just speaking of this ministry, so I’m talking to people out there in TV-land, in radio-land who just “by accident” today (I love that expression) are listening, but you might have stumbled upon another ministry and said, “But I can’t support that,” and you’ll give all of the reasons why. We’re great at giving excuses. Hannah could have given an excuse and said, “Look at the priesthood!” People today can make that same excuse and say, “Look at the pastor!” “Look at the minister!” “Look at the priest! I can’t support that.” That’s why I said to you if the church is preaching the gospel and teaching the Bible you won’t be looking at the minister, the priest, the pastor, or even the rabbi. You’re going to be looking or listening to what is being said, the contents of which must come if you’re, and I included rabbi because we’re talking about Old Testament. Jews and Christians share the same book, at least the first part of it. It’s what comes out of this book, not the ideology that is perhaps personal or the divisions that have become known as denominations. And the excuse could have, as I said, for Hannah been, “I can’t entrust my son there, because you know what type of person Eli and his sons are?” But rather, she made a vow to the Lord. And this is the wonderful thing, in vowing her vow and in fulfilling that she also had to be a woman of faith to say, “The Lord will take care of Samuel, the one that He gave me, He’ll take care of.” This is why when I say if you ask for something and the Lord grants it to you, don’t think that all the sudden now you’re going to be left and abandoned. When the Lord does something, He sees that He brings it to completion. Just like you, when He called you and it seems messed up because things don’t make sense. There’s confusion in your life. I was talking to somebody last week and we were talking about people who have, who are Christians who are depressed. And that seems to be a gross contradiction, how could that be? And then I said, “Stop talking about the contradictions. Some of the greatest ministers of the Bible suffered depression.” It’s well documented. And not just little bouts here and there; well documented. Why would the devil not? He’s a robber of our joy. Why would it not be that way? So when we appear to be unfruitful, like somebody says, you know, our common, sorry, it’s our common comedy here, you know, “How many people are you running today,” right, “in the church?” How is it, let me ask you this. How is it, let me use somebody who’s far removed from the person that I’m thinking of. Let’s just say Minister So-and-so twenty years ago, he used to have these great gatherings. And they would do an altar call and it would be a flood of people come down, you’d see them on TV and they’d all come. And you’ve got a guy at a corner church somewhere, he preaches the gospel, he doesn’t have big crowds, probably has a deeper, meatier message and probably if they did altar calls, he probably sees one person come forth once a year. Why is that? Why is it that some people are fruitful and some people are barren? And don’t take the fact that you’re barren as a sign that God is not with you. God’s going to bring you through. And I again, from several messages appearing in my brain, God is an expert at faminizing, right? He brings you into the famine to make you see what it is, then He brings you out and you come out blessed, but it’s not the blessing we envision of, you know, “I’ve got things spilling all over the place and, you know, an abundance of this,” but rather the things that we need. In this case, she prayed earnestly for a child that would become the light at a very dark time in that land. And as I made the comparison between the children of Susanna, and specifically now going back to the one who was the great minister, which as I said, became the Methodist movement, that birthed a new wave of, we’ll call it revival. And more and more people would come out to hear the message. In fact, I, I’ll tell you the difference between father and son. The father preached a message, I was reading one of the pages of the father’s story; he was preaching a message condemning his congregation, the small congregation against sin. And you know how they responded? One of those fires was started by people who didn’t like the preacher telling them about their sin, versus if you look at the preaching of Wesley, which was not condemnatory, but spoke grossly about the subject of sin and how to repent and obtain redemption and salvation in Christ. Why is it that one man suffers, we’ll call it barrenness and another is fruitful? And don’t, as I said, don’t take the barrenness as some curse; take it as something that needs to be prayed through. Like people say, “Well, I, I’m broke now. I don’t have any money.” Well, keep praying. Keep praying and keep looking and keep focus. And that is not an excuse to become lazy and complacent. It is a reason to press forward. I think if Peninnah had been friendlier to Hannah and been nice to her, and said, “Oh, you poor thing. And come here. I’ll comfort you,” and gave her all the attention, maybe Hannah wouldn’t have prayed as fervently. Maybe she wouldn’t have prayed at all, because she would have had the flesh helping her along and comforting her. I believe that. So what I want you to take away from this is first and foremost the fact that this woman did not give up. Her prayer that the Lord granted her petition and then let me talk about this promised child for a minute, because this promised child, if you remember, will grow up at a time just as the book of Judges ends and says, “Everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” Essentially this book will end the same way, everyone did what was right in their own eyes. But this child will grow up where people will demand, “Give us a king.” And the Lord speaks to him and says, “They haven’t rejected you, Samuel. They’ve rejected Me.” And I think about the grace that was given to Samuel, by the way, from this beginning and you look at all of his life and how the Lord was with him all the way, tells me something. It tells me that the beginning of the praying mother had, it didn’t influence God in the way of the outcome, but it did influence God in the fact that God heard the prayer and it was answered. Don’t give up in your moment. You don’t know what, as I said, the barrenness and blessing will be later on. In this case it’s Samuel, who would be the middle ground and the spokesperson for God at a time when God had essentially shut up the mouths of the prophets. He was the one speaking, governing, guiding until the people requested that king, which obviously was not the choice that God desired in Saul. And we all know how that worked out. So not just a Mother’s Day message, but a lesson for every single person in the sound of my voice: don’t stop praying. When I ask you to pray for somebody who’s sick, and my goodness, we get, I get stacks of requests, I pull out the things that I think are very grave and very, I mean critical, like if we’re not praying about this right now there’s going to be dire consequences. When I’ve asked you to pray for the church, that’s because I recognize the church cannot be a place void of prayerful people. We have to keep praying and we have to keep asking and petitioning the Lord, especially in this day and age where people seem to be very laissez faire, very complacent about the church and about God. And when I’ve asked you to pray, I’ve said to myself the prayers of this group of people praying and the people out there who respond who are praying with us, they’re heard by the Lord. We may not see the fruit of it immediately. It doesn’t say as Hannah prayed that immediately like Mary or like Elizabeth, but specifically Mary that a child jumped in her womb. It says that they had to still do it the old-fashioned way to get it done, right, get ‘er done. But it still took faith. And I know that’s a little bit weird, but it still took faith for them to amen that which was said in the midst of emptiness and nothingness. So the take away today is kind of like that. I think as a spiritual mother I’m asking you today to pray for this church, and to pray for something very specific. I’ve told you I’m not, I’m not going anywhere. When, when the Lord takes my breath away that’s, that’s when I’ll go. But I’m asking you to pray for something specific. I’m asking you to pray for the future of this ministry. “Well, it’s in His hands, Pastor; we can do nothing about it.” No, you can pray. You can pray that the Lord gives you guidance and He’s already given you the equipment to help me to be fellow laborers. He’s already given us the mind of Christ, so now comes the part of saying, “I’m going to amen that. I’m not just going to say it with my mouth. I’m going to say I absolutely amen that this request is going to be heard by the Lord.” And you, you begin to walk as though, and we’ve said this with sickness, you begin to walk as though He’s already done it. It was done in the past, you get up and you start moving again, even though you may feel that same ache is still there or that same pain or that same sickness is still there. You get up and you begin to go as though He’s already done it. I’m asking you to do the same thing for this church, for me, and for you. As we come together on this day, and as I said, I’m a little bit, I’m not a traditional type of person when it comes to topical things, but I saw this and I said I want to seize this for every single person; not just mothers. It’s wonderful to see a praying mother and a godly mother, but it’s even more incredible to take what she did and bring it with us. Are you struggling? Have you been struggling with something that appears to be unfruitful and barren? I know I have been. I’m the first; I’ll be the first one in line to say I have been, so you don’t have to feel that bad and think like you’re a loser, because you know, you’re “No, not me!” I have been. I make no secret about it. I share these things with you, but I’m going to keep doing exactly what this pattern tells me to do: keep praying. And in fact, my prayer is very much like Hannah vowing a vow to the Lord, because there is no other application for me. “If the Lord does this thing, then, you know, I’m going to be over there.” No. If the Lord does this thing it’s to His glory. It’s to His benefit. We will honor Him and give Him glory that way. And maybe I will be like the one that the prophet in the smaller books talks about. If there is no figs on the vine, still, if nothing comes to fruition, yet I will not stop asking the Lord! I will not say there are no flowers and there’s no wine and there’s no figs, but rather, Lord, bring these things, bring a harvest. The harvest is not for me. The harvest is for You. That’s what Hannah was saying. That’s what I’m asking you to say. Have you got anybody sick in your house? Have you got anybody that, as I said for the last few weeks, that you wish that they would hear the message? Pray for them! Don’t prey on them! Pray for them. I believe in the power of prayer. This is a testimony to that power. And Samuel is remembered and embodied in two books that bear his name that were probably just one book originally, as a godly leader, sanity in the midst of insanity, and always giving a word that we often quote: “Obedience is better than sacrifice.” The things that he said, we now take as ours. So what I’m saying to you is the gift of that blessedness has continued and continues to bless us, continues to be a blessing. But it could have all been different with Hannah saying, “It’s not happening for me.” It could be different for you today, when you’re saying, “Well, the Lord’s not answering my prayer.” And I mean I’ve heard this before: “I’ve just been too bad. I’ve done too many bad things. The Lord’s not going to listen to my prayer.” Are you kidding me? If that’s your version of the God that we serve, let me take you back and explain to you what salvation means. He came to save the ungodly, sinners, fallen ones, and He knowing our frame; we’re not perfect, we’re faulted, but yet that’s what He came for! And stand up and say “The Lord’s going to even do it for me.” And if it takes twenty-five years like Abraham for God to make good, you keep praying the prayer and you keep acting in faith and the Lord will make a way somehow. And eventually the blessedness does come. That barrenness does not last a lifetime. It is for a season. It’s like that wonderful message Dr. Scott used to preach, “Blessed Men Go through Valleys of Weeping,” they don’t stay in the valley. Well, we’re going to go through times of barrenness, but yet we’ll come through and we come out blessed because we stayed with the stuff in the midst of that dark time that says, “No matter what, Lord, I will trust you.” I hope somebody’s going to be encouraged today, somebody will grab hold of this and say, “I am going to amen God’s word. I’m going to get up and I’m going to pray like the whole world depends on my prayer, and then I’m going to begin to walk and say the Lord’s going to do it. He’ll make it happen. He’ll make it come to pass.” You have been watching me, Pastor Melissa Scott, live from Glendale, California at Faith Center. If you would like to attend the service with us, Sunday morning at 11am, simply call 1-800-338-3030 to receive your pass. If you’d like more teaching and you would like to go straight to our website, the address is