Pastor's Pen: I'll pray with you

Every once in a while we could all use a little encouragement. I was reading about Hannah in 1 Samuel 1 the other day. She, along with Peninnah, was married to Elkanah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none. Year after year Peninnah would provoke Hannah until she would cry and would not eat. She was obviously very hurt because she had no children and her rival constantly pushed those buttons for a reaction.

One year Hannah was praying and Eli the priest saw her. She was deep in prayer in her heart. As she prayed her lips moved, but there was no sound coming out. Eli thought she was drunk and went over to rebuke her.

Instead, he found a woman in deep distress pouring out her soul to the LORD.

Eli came back with these simple words, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of Him.” Hannah then goes away, eats and is no longer depressed. She had been heard.

Some say that Eli promised that her request would be answered, while others say he joined with her in petitioning to God.

The fact is that Eli could not answer her request. He could not provide a child for her. He could only go to God with her. This he most certainly did.

There are people around you who need encouragement. They have lost jobs, constant illness, bills unpaid, friends who have left or family that is draining.

Some, maybe many, of those are circumstances too great for you or I to solve. But we can do as Eli did. We can come alongside, listen and petition God with them.

Look for those who need encouragement and come alongside them. One friend can make a huge difference in one life.