The Influence And Power Of A Praying Mother
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: 1 Samuel 1:9-28
Sunday 26th March 2017
As we celebrate this year’s Mothers’ Day, I would like to encourage and admonish all our mothers, grandmothers, mothers-to-be and mother figures with this message titled: ‘The Influence and Power of a Praying Mother’.
Let me begin with a couple of quotes from some well-known public figures, who have left an indelible legacy for us all to follow: “Only God Himself fully appreciates the influence of a Christian mother in the moulding of character in her children” a quote by Evangelist Billy Graham. Abraham Lincoln said: "I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life." Here is another quote from Charles Haddon Spurgeon: ‘I cannot tell you how much I owe to the solemn word of my good mother." And finally, Neil Anderson describes motherhood this way: ‘Motherhood is not a hobby it is a calling; it is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in, it is what God gave you time for”. These quotes emphasize this simple truth that motherhood shapes the destinies of their children. Indeed, one of life’s greatest blessings is the gift of a godly mother.
I would like to share the life story of one of scriptures great mothers. Her name is Hannah. The bible records her story, including the pain and maltreatment that she endured while she was expecting the birth of her first child. Let’s pick up the story as recorded in 1 Samuel 1:9-28. ‘Once after a sacrificial meal at Shiloh, Hannah got up and went to pray. Eli the priest was sitting at his customary place beside the entrance of the Tabernacle. Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord. And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.” As she was praying to the Lord, Eli watched her. Seeing her lips moving but hearing no sound, he thought she had been drinking. “Must you come here drunk?” he demanded. “Throw away your wine!” “Oh no, sir!” she replied. “I haven’t been drinking wine or anything stronger. But I am very discouraged, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord. Don’t think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.” “In that case,” Eli said, “go in peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.” “Oh, thank you, sir!” she exclaimed. Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad. The entire family got up early the next morning and went to worship the Lord once more. Then they returned home to Ramah. When Elkanah slept with Hannah, the Lord remembered her plea, and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I asked the Lord for him.” The next year Elkanah and his family went on their annual trip to offer a sacrifice to the Lord and to keep his vow. But Hannah did not go. She told her husband, “Wait until the boy is weaned. Then I will take him to the Tabernacle and leave him there with the Lord permanently.” Whatever you think is best,” Elkanah agreed. “Stay here for now, and may the Lord help you keep your promise.” So she stayed home and nursed the boy until he was weaned. When the child was weaned, Hannah took him to the Tabernacle in Shiloh. They brought along a three-year-old bull for the sacrifice and a basket of flour and some wine. After sacrificing the bull, they brought the boy to Eli. “Sir, do you remember me?” Hannah asked. “I am the very woman who stood here several years ago praying to the Lord. I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request. Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life.” And they worshiped the Lord there’ (NLT).
A preface to this story is recorded in the first eight verses of the 1 Samuel 1. Hannah had married Elkanah, but the couple had difficulties conceiving a child. Eventually, Elkanah married another wife named Peninnah. The bible clearly states that a marriage should be between a man and a woman, as recorded in Mark 10:5-8. If we fail to comply with biblical instructions, we stand the danger of facing the consequences of our disobedience. This is exactly what Elkanah faced after his marriage to Peninnah, as scripture records that Peninnah taunted Hannah for having no children, reducing her to tears. This became a yearly fixture during their annual pilgrimage to Shiloh.
Our foundation scripture picks up the story on one of the family’s visits to Shiloh. Hannah got up from the table to spend time in prayer before God. The bible records that she was in bitterness of soul, as she prayed and wept in anguish. Verse 11 records her vow: ‘And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.” This vow defined her motherhood. Motherhood is simply nurturing children for God – about giving back our children to God, recognising that we are simply stewards. Every child given to us by God must be returned to Him. Our children are ordained to serve God in one capacity or the other.
Here are three truths from the life of Hannah – a Godly mother:
(1) Hannah was a praying mother: The birth of Samuel was through prayer. He was also dedicated to God in prayer. In the same way, mothers who raised world changers were prayer warriors. Prayer causes Heaven to move on behalf of our children, releasing to them divine favour. Our prayers are terror to the enemy, as it activates angels to defend the course of our children. Prayer activates blessings in our lives and that of our children. As Godly mothers, we must spend quality time praying for our children, in shaping their godly choices in life. Hannah’s prayers influence Samuel choices in following God and serving Him wholeheartedly. Prayerlessness eventually sets up our children for failure, compromising their destinies in life.
(2) Hannah was a preparing mother: After Samuel’s birth, she stayed back to nurse him. She spent the time and resources to prepare him for a life of impact. She also taught Samuel the word of the Lord and prayer. 1 Samuel 1:21-25 gives us an insight into the sacrifice she made on behalf of Samuel, staying back from visiting Shiloh as usual, till Samuel was weaned. Instead, she modelled her life before Samuel, till he was ready to serve the Lord.
(3) Hannah was a God-fearing mother: She kept her promise of returning Samuel to the Lord. 1 Samuel 1:24-28 gives us a full picture of her promise. Not only did she take Samuel to the temple. She did so, in worship and reverence, bringing with her an offering of a three year old bull, a basket of flour and wine for a sacrificial offering to God.
Below is the impact of Hannah’s motherhood:
(a) Samuel was a Judge: The bible records that he ruled as a Judge in Israel for several years. Here is Acts 13:20; “After that, God gave them judges to rule until the time of Samuel the prophet’.
(b) Samuel was a Prophet: St. Peter speaks about Samuel’s ministry as a prophet in Acts 3:24, which reads: “Starting with Samuel, every prophet spoke about what is happening today.” Also, see 1 Samuel 19:20.
(c) Samuel anointed the first two kings of Israel – Saul and David.
(d) Samuel was a Priest: Here is 1 Samuel 7:9-11, which reads: ‘So Samuel took a young lamb and offered it to the Lord as a whole burnt offering. He pleaded with the Lord to help Israel, and the Lord answered him. Just as Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines arrived to attack Israel. But the Lord spoke with a mighty voice of thunder from heaven that day, and the Philistines were thrown into such confusion that the Israelites defeated them. The men of Israel chased them from Mizpah to a place below Beth-car, slaughtering them all along the way.’
(e) Samuel led one of the greatest Passovers: 2 Chronicles 35:18-19 reads: ‘Never since the time of the prophet Samuel had there been such a Passover. None of the kings of Israel had ever kept a Passover as Josiah did, involving all the priests and Levites, all the people of Jerusalem, and people from all over Judah and Israel. This Passover was celebrated in the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign’
The future of the next generation is dependent on how they are raised by their praying mothers. I admonish you to continually pray for your children, as you prepare them for the life ahead – your impact and influence on their lives is immeasurably immense. Happy Mothers Day!
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