“In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly.”
1 Samuel 1:10 (NIV)
A group of men and women had a deep desire to see a Baptist church in the village. So began years of relentless prayer for a Baptist church in Waikoloa, located on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Being relentless in prayer for a burden reminds me of Hannah in the Bible. Hannah had a deep desire for which she prayed relentlessly. I see some similarities in the two desires or burdens.
Hannah had probably been praying for years to have a son. She had to continually put up with hurtful remarks made by the other wife, the one with many children. Her husband loved her dearly, but he could not console Hannah as she yearned to have her own child (1 Sam.1:1-18).
Hannah believed in and worshiped Yahweh. One year when she went with her husband to Shiloh to worship, she poured out her heart in prayer. In verse 11, Hannah prays that if God would give her a son, she would give him back to the Lord. No longer is her prayer just about fulfilling her need, but it is also about surrendering her desire to the Lord. Hannah left content, knowing that God would answer her prayer. She left in peace and thankfulness because her prayers were aligned with God’s plan. In God’s timing, Hannah had a son. Hannah kept her commitment and dedicated Samuel to serve the Lord.
We read later of Hannah’s prayer of rejoicing and praising God for answered prayer (1 Sam. 2:1-10). We also see the blessings God poured out on Hannah. She was able to visit Samuel every year, she had more children, and Samuel grew up to be a great judge and prophet for Israel. Hannah was a part of God’s divine plan to raise up a prophet.
The people in Waikoloa faced many obstacles such as negative comments, the obstacle of finding property, and a lack of finances. As with Hannah, the people in Hawaii prayed, believing God would answer. They prayed according to God’s Word and as the Holy Spirit directed.
Years later in 1989, in God’s time and plan, a land company provided an abandoned army barracks for starting a church and the childcare needed for employees of the resorts being built. Thus, Waikoloa Mission was started. Four years later, funds were available to purchase property to build the church. Today Waikoloa Baptist Church continues to see God’s blessings poured out as they share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As we pray, we may not be aware of how God is using us in His divine plan. My husband Russ and I were church planters in Waikoloa. In April 1993, a month after dedicating the property and days prior to my birthday, Russ passed away. Months later a WMU group from the mainland visited the mission. One woman shared that she had prayed for me in April because my name was on the Prayer Calendar. She was a part God’s divine plan for me.
Father, Thank You for Hannah’s story and her example of heart-felt prayer. Thank You for answered prayer. Help us to be relentless in praying for our missionaries. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
by Brenda Morris