I bow in worship every morning when I wake up.
I slap the alarm notification on my phone for the third time, silently and sleepily vowing to get to bed earlier tonight than the night before. When the second alarm goes off, also for the third time (I set at least two because morning and I are not buddies), I slap the screen again. This time I rub my eyes and keep them open. Then, I put the phone down and get up.
Except, before I put the phone down and get up, I check my notifications. Relax! It’ll only take a minute! And as one minute becomes 10 or 20, I scroll through texts, emails, and social media, nonchalantly consuming whatever happens to flash on the screen. Before I step foot out of bed, I’ve set my heart and mind at the feet of my iPhone.
I bow in worship every morning when I wake up. But sometimes I bow to the wrong thing.
Maybe my tendency to distraction is why my heart is so drawn to Hannah’s story. I listened again to these first two chapters of 1 Samuel just this morning, and I felt a flutter in my chest as the chapters repeated. In only a few pages, Scripture describes Hannah praying again and again to the Lord, pouring out her heart, bowing in worship. I’m sure she wasn’t perfect—but, oh, how she prayed!
Hannah’s prayers were not obligatory, half-hearted, or empty. She prayed honestly and openly; she prayed as if her life depended on it. “Deeply hurt, Hannah prayed to the Lord and wept with many tears,” we read in 1 Samuel 1:10. “I’ve been praying from the depth of my anguish and resentment,” she said. From the depth of her anguish and resentment. The good, the bad, and the painful—Hannah brought it all to her God as an act of worship.
In fact, she prayed so earnestly that a priest named Eli accused her of being drunk when he watched her at the tabernacle. “Hannah was praying silently, and though her lips were moving, her voice could not be heard” (1 Samuel 1:13).
I like to pray out loud when I drive because I think anyone observing will assume I’m talking on the phone. Evidently, Hannah wouldn’t have given it enough thought to care.
So what is it about Hannah that gives her the kind of worshipping heart I long to have?
Why is prayer Hannah’s first resort instead of her last?
The Bible does not tell us outright, but I think we’re given some solid clues.
She believes in God’s power. Hannah approaches God with reverence (“Lord of Hosts, if you will take notice of your servant’s affliction…”) and she asks boldly for His blessing (“remember and [do] not forget me…”).
She trusts in God’s goodness. Hannah offers her beloved son Samuel as God’s servant before he is even conceived (“I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life…”). My mama-heart can hardly imagine such trusting resolve.
She rests in God’s presence. We get a glimpse of how Hannah responds in sorrow (“I am a woman with a broken heart… I’ve been pouring out my heart before the Lord”) and even how she begins her day in the midst of hard times of waiting (“Elkanah and Hannah got up early to bow in worship before the Lord”).
Hannah’s habit of prayer was less about her goodness and more about God’s greatness.
After Samuel’s birth, Hannah carried her son up to the tabernacle, dedicating him to the Lord. It’s here that we see her back where she started in Chapter 1: presenting her whole self in prayer before God. Though her prayers of anguish had become a song of thanksgiving, Hannah’s posture was still the same. In supplication and in praise, she bowed in worship before the Lord.
I don’t honestly worship my inbox or my Instagram feed, but I do turn to empty distractions rather than turning my eyes to Jesus. I don’t truly believe prayer is pointless, but the opportunities I don’t take to bow before the Lord make me wonder.
Oh, Lord, please forgive me for giving my worshipful glances and prayerful pleas to anyone and anything other than you!
Sisters, we serve a powerful, loving, and good God—the God who is like no other.
When our lives ache with need, may we bring them to the throne. When our hearts break, may we pour them out to God. When we rise in the morning, may we rise in worship.
“There is no one holy like the Lord. There is no one besides You!”
- 1 Samuel 2:2