Tuesday, January 9, 2018

What Hannah Teaches Us

In today's first reading,  1 Samuel 1: 9-20, Hannah enters the Temple to pray. She "presented herself before the Lord...In her bitterness she prayed to the Lord, weeping copiously, and she made a vow, promising: 'O Lord of hosts, if you look with pity on the misery of your handmaid, if you remember me and do not forget me, if you give your handmaid a male child, I will give him to the Lord for as long as he lives...."

Notice that Hannah does not pick up a book of traditional Jewish prayers when she entered the Temple to pray. No she presents "herself before the Lord"; she prays from the heart!  She teaches us to go to the Lord with our problems,  to be honest with the Lord, that is, share our feelings and express our needs openly, honestly and humbly. With God in prayer,we need to be like a small child speaking to its parents! No pretensions.

If you and I are honest with ourselves and with another trusted individual, it is more probable that we will be honest with God as well.  Grace builds on nature!  So, if we have not developed an openness and an honesty with ourselves or others, it is less likely that we will be truthful when we communicate with God.  Without being honest, vulnerable, and humble, we will leave any relationship--God's or that of another person--as disconnected and dry as when we sat down with God or another person.

Lord, please give me a humble, open, honest heart so that I can let my guard down and be vulnerable in how I relate to others, to myself and to you in prayer, as was Hannah! Thank you, Lord!


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