Requests and Promises

I’ve been enjoying thinking about Hannah and Mary today. Juxtaposing the beginning of 1 Samuel with the first chapters of Luke. Two women not yet pregnant. One long married, one just engaged. Both soon with child, singing songs of the Lord’s great mercy.

They were ordinary women. At least, that is what resonates with me today. One took her request to the Lord’s house, drawing the attention of the priest with her passionate prayer. Hannah asked for a baby. The other was in her own house, where the Lord’s messenger went looking for her consent. Mary was asked to have a baby.

Sometimes we bring our requests to God. Other times, God has a request for us. Different ways of partnering in the Lord’s work. Sometimes the passion is ours. Other times, the initiative is God’s. 

I look back at times when I’ve felt God’s hand strongly on my life. There were times when I sought the Lord earnestly with my request. But other times I felt compelled in a direction that I was definitely not seeking. 

Today I noticed the word promise. Hannah’s husband speaks of her promise to the Lord; Elizabeth speaks of the Lord’s promise to Mary. Hm. Perhaps the request being fulfilled prompts the promise. But in both cases, the Lord is the one who brings the promise to pass: strengthening Hannah to give her child back to the Lord, gifting Mary the faith to believe the angel’s words.

What are our requests and promises? How do we see the Lord fulfilling them in our ordinary lives? Sometimes our deep desires. Other times our assent to the unanticipated. Each time a gift of partnership in the Lord’s plans. 

May we trust in the Lord’s faithfulness- in our prayers and in our surprises. May the Lord fulfill the promises in our lives. That we too may sing songs of praise for God’s work in us and in the world around us. 


“How can this be?”
12/20 Order of Service

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