Every day we need to soak in His Word, let it resonate in our souls and settle deep into a Sabbath rest of the heart. May the reminder of His promises be a balm to you as we seek Him first in each of our journeys. Join me at the beginning of the week for a reminder to take a soul stop in the power of His Word and be rejuvenated for the week ahead.

Prayer is like that all encompassing ticket we get to purchase without using any money, it’s a free gift giving us access to the Father…access to grace. I have been contemplating the power of this covenant gift we have at our disposal lately, pondering the way we fail to apply it as we ought.  This gift is priceless as it connects us soul-deep to the One who intercedes for us.  I am reminded that it is more than a ticket allowing entrance into the gates of grace, it is the currency of our communication…the proof that God is listening…the antidote to all our difficulties.

I’ve long been fascinated with the women of the Word. I feel like I can relate to them, identify with their pains and rejoice in their victories because some of their struggles and prayers have been like my own. The personal reflections of the people who purposed to walk into God’s grace, people who lived out their calling in imperfect humility, reminds me of my own journey. It both humbles me and lifts me to see how they fought, to see how they overcame, to see how they met God right in the midst of life. And how He met them.

Inspired to draw in, their stories, allow us to lean into their existence, partake of their living and grieving and loving and giving. Often I find the faith seeds of their testimony just at the right time, I watch and weep with amazement as I wander through their history…and I am drawn closer to God because of it.

They were faith-seekers, burden-bearers, grace-breathers, prayer-warriors. And the lessons they teach us are always applicable for our lives now, because God is always the same and always good. What He did then, He can do now.(Hebrews 13:8)

I have been thinking about my own girls, about their futures ahead.That happens as they get older and more independent. I am not always ready for change and sometimes, if I am honest, it scares me to think of what they are stepping into.  The eyes of time see differently than youth and I have found my prayers have been littered with requests to draw them to His heart  more and more. I pray for them now to have Titus 2 women in their lives later. I am praying circles of grace around them as they are here with me, praying that they would be close to the Father, safe and covered, but I know that sometimes things happen. And even when they do God is still good.

But it is here, at the altar of grace, we find our hope to press on and the courage to be brave. When we take the place of prayer warrior, we choose to entreat grace as we enter His throne room and spill our hearts clean of our weighted worries. We put on the armor of the King and we are actively fighting a spiritual battle.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds: Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

We need to be bold women of prayer who bleed faith into the lives of others.

As I think about the bold prayers that we are called to pray…Spirit-filled prayers of faith and belief…I realized I didn’t just want that faith only for my girls, I realized just how much I also needed it for me. I needed a super-charged dose of heavenly conviction to get rid of that fear that was getting a foothold. I needed a vitamin of faith to boost my memory of what His Word actually says.  Sometimes in the midst of living, I forget what He has done. And that is why these stories of bold faith change our perspective.

Hannah’s story stops me every single time.  She was a woman of faith. She was a woman of prayer. And her son was a product of that prayer. Matthew Henry calls Samuel, ‘a child of prayer’.  In his commentary on the 1st Book of Samuel, he says, “Samuel was asked of God by His mother.”

“So Hannah rose up…and… in distress of soul, was praying to the Lord and weeping bitterly.  She vowed, saying, O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your handmaid and earnestly remember, and not forget Your handmaid but will give me a son, I will give him to the Lord all his life; no razor shall touch his head.  And as she continued praying before the Lord, Eli noticed her mouth. Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved by her voice was not heard…[she] was pouring out her soul before the Lord.” 1 Samuel 1:9-11,13,15

How many times have you found yourself at a crossroads for those you love, for the barren places in your life, pouring out your soul like Hannah?

Many times we fight for our own, especially in the midnight hours, when we are empty and unprepared. We fight and we struggle and we get tired by it all. And we almost give up because we fight in our own strength. But the altar of our faith is built on His strength, not ours, and we need to remember who we are fighting for and who we are fighting against.

Our struggles are often the catalyst of our prayers and the desperation of our hearts become the vehicle that drives us right into the throne room of God.

Hannah’s story in 1 Samuel shows her desperation and struggle bound to the shame of barrenness.  It was a burden she chose to bear on her own, even though she was not really alone. How many times do we do that, friends? How many times to we choose to carry the burdens on our own out of shame or misdirected faith?

Hannah was loved by her husband, but empty of the promise.

So she prepared herself to go to God in prayer.

At the place of her prayer, Hannah made a vow.

She vowed in her heart, the very place she held God,  and she believed in His provision…because she knew that He remembered her.  Incidentally, her name means grace and each time I read through her testimony of faith, I see His grace stamped upon it all. I see the way that He met her in her deepest trial and changed her. And that is the key to the whole thing.

God answered the travail of Hannah’s heart immediately because when she left her place of prayer, she went away changed.

“Hannah said, Let your handmaid find grace in your sight. So she went her way and ate, her countenance no longer sad.” 1 Samuel 1:18

She went to the altar to spill out her heart. The Hebrew word here is sapak which means to fully expend.  She emptied of her soul the weight that she carried. She entered right into that place of communion fellowship with the only One who could meet her need and answer the cry of her heart. She was fully depleted of all that kept her barren, all the things that she held onto except faith, and made a vow to carry God alone.

She was a woman of bold faith and even bolder prayers.

You see, Hannah didn’t just go for the promise of becoming a mother. The reason she was changed, the reason she could go her way and eat was because she was not the same. She was filled by God.   She not only left blessed by God, but blessed by the chosen man of God. She left the Altar altered forever.

Hannah’s faithful waiting before God produced fruit and faith to do the hard things, to believe the unbelievable, to commit herself and her greatest desires to the faithfulness of God. It wasn’t about His answer to her plea, it was about his presence when she shared it. It was that she was heard.

“For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted my petition made to him. Therefore I have given him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is given to the Lord.” 1 Samuel 1:27-28.

Hannah’s story is our story, too. It is the sacrificial offering we make on the altar of our hearts before the Father who meets us and the Savior who intercedes for us.  We can trust the Lord in our difficult days and our messy moments. We can rely on Him even when people, friends, and family make it hard, because He is faithful. And we can trust Him.

Our prayers are meant to be bold prayers.

“My heart exults and triumphs in the Lord; my horn is lifted up in the Lord.  My mouth is no longer silent, for it is opened wide over my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation. There is none holy like the Lord, there is none besides You; there is no Rock like our God.” – 1 Samuel 2:1-2

Whatever you are carrying in your heart today, friend, let it spill. Whatever burden you are letting settle on your shoulders, let it fall. Whatever hurt that is breaking you, let it go. And make your way to the Altar of the Lord. Let every prayer in the secret place inside be poured out as a peace-offering and leave it there. Don’t leave till you receive the blessing and go away changed by the countenance of grace He places over you.

Don’t hesitate to lift up shaking hands wherever you are and be bold as you pray the prayers of your heart.

Last week I asked you if you picked a word for the year and so many of you shared them with me, thank you! I am praying for each of you to be encouraged as you pursue Him in faith this year.  As we look at some of the women of the word over the next few weeks, I’d love to know who your favorites are. Whose story has deeply inspired you as you continue to seek Him?

Pausing with friends on the journey:

Moments of Hope, #DreamTogetherUnite, Cheerleaders of Faith, Tell His Story, Coffee For Your Heart, Three Word Wednesday, Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace n Truth, #Chasing Community, Fresh Market Friday,  Faith n Friends Blog Hop, Missional Women, Dance with Jesus, Glimpses with Barbie, Give Me Grace.