Nov 4, 2020, 1:40 PM
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer. (Methodist Hymn Book no. 538)
Persistent knocking brings results that sometimes will take us by surprise. It demands a lot of courage to the extent that even when there are no visible signs or ‘no clouds in the sky,’ we should not relent, we should persist. Though prayer changes things, it does not change God. God intervenes and the situation changes on behalf of the petitioner. God makes it happen for us. How long are you prepared to knock? Let’s find out from father Abraham.
Father Abraham had a need and he prayed to God in these terms; “O Sovereign God what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” (Genesis 15:2) Father Abraham did not stop there, he continued in a plaintive tone; “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” (Genesis 15:3)
As you can see father Abraham did not beat about the bush. He did not mince his words either. He laid it all on the table. He knocked so hard at heaven’s door to make his plea heard as he opened his heart to the Lord. God couldn’t turn a deaf ear. The response came when God said to him. “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” (Genesis 15:4) Just in case Abraham would not believe Him, God resorted to a practical demonstration. He took Abraham outside, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars – if indeed you can count them! Then He said to him; “So shall your offspring be.” (Genesis 15:5) Your offspring will be so numerous, there is no way you would be able to count them. Well the proof is that we all spring from father Abraham.
The Bible account concludes that because Abraham believed the Lord, it was credited to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:6) For knocking on heaven’s door, Abraham obtained uncountable sons and daughters the world over. He knocked expecting one offspring – a son; God, the Giver of all good gifts, filled his basket. One condition for the fulfilment of his prayer was his faith. It will be the same when we take it all to Jesus in prayer.
The realisation of father Abraham’s dream came twenty-five years afterwards. At the time he knocked on heaven’s door with his request, Abraham was seventy-five years old. I don’t suppose Abraham made just one single wish and stopped at that. If this thought had been on his mind to the extent that he complained bitterly to God, he must have knocked continuously until God answered his prayers in the person of Isaac.
Father Abraham did not feel complete without an offspring. The absence of an heir bothered him. Yet before he knocked, God had an answer for him. He had fathomed the depth of his needs, weighed them on the palm of His hand and brought relief to His faithful servant. Father Abraham was certain he would get attention from God otherwise he would not have knocked on heaven’s door, in desperation. Sometimes you may have to knock twice to have an answer. That was the case with Hannah.
Hannah one of the wives of Elkanan, could no longer bear the torment of her mate Peninah and though her husband was supportive of her childless status, his offer of gifts as palliative did not prove helpful. Hannah, like Abraham who wanted an offspring, needed to prove she could be a mother too. She wanted a child so badly to show for her years of marriage. So every year the family went to Shiloh to offer sacrifice to the Lord.
Every year at the appointed time - accompanied by her husband - Hannah undertook the tedious and arduous journey to Jerusalem to make an appearance at one of the three major feasts every true Jew was supposed to attend.
Her husband’s comforting words and gifts did not do the trick; that only soothed her for a while. She wanted her respect; she wanted to cease being her mate’s doormat. “Her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat.” (1 Samuel 1:6) “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?” (1 Samuel 1:8) her husband would say to calm her down.
Hannah continued to knock persistently and did not give up until God blessed her with a son whom she named Samuel. That year she prayed her heart out until the priest thought she must have had some alcoholic beverage early that morning. “O Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget me your servant but give her a son …” (1 Samuel 1:11). It pained her that the priest should have thought this way. In response she defended herself; “Not so my Lord! I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord.” (verse 15)
What is wrong that you cannot come to His throne of grace with your appeal for a lasting solution? Knock! Knock! He is not deaf to hear, nor dumb to speak to your circumstance. “Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: here am I?” (Isaiah 58:9)