Syndicated radio host Janet Parshall was the author of this chapter where she approached the story of Hannah and Samuel from a mother's persepective.
The prayers of a mother seem to have a special power. Andrew Murray, in "Raising Your Children For God", alluded to this fact. C.H. Spurgeon did as well in his vast writings. The Puritan writings are full of admonitions to mothers concerning their prayers for their children.
All of us, as mothers, have had times of prayer similar to those of Hannah. It may have been for a wayward child. It may have been for a sick child. It may have been for the bearing of children. It may have been for grace in releasing a child to the mission field, marriage, or even kindergarten. The fact remains that, as mothers, we often experience the most heart wrenching pains in prayer for our children.
Although I found Janet's take on Hannah's story intriguing and interesting to read, something she said at the end of the chapter caught my eye.
"Motherhood gives us feelings of fuzzy blankets and baby rattles and toys to line the crib. But motherhood is actually one of God's refining fires. The reality of motherhood is that it's a place to learn surrender, letting go, trusting and believing that God is God. But because He is in it, motherhood gives us the opportunity to interact with history."
She later says, "our prayers for our children can make a mark on our nation."
I've always thought that God gave me children to make me grow up! For me, being a mother has not always been easy.
-I fought in prayer to conceive
-I fought in prayer to bring each pregnancy to full term.
-I fought in prayer for the sparing of the lives and the healing of my children after a devastating car accident that left two of them brain injured and close to death.
-I fought in prayer, and still am for grace and mercy to keep my children unstained by the world until I am sure of their salvation, and then beyond their salvation.
-I fought in prayer as my oldest made some scary decisions in picking those that she would date and refused to listen to sound reason. (She's getting married this October to a man we love already as a son--he's just what I prayed for!)
-I fought in prayer to survive having 3 inquisitive toddlers who were all in diapers at the same time. I spent a lot of days declaring what I know is truth, even though my experience didn't always line up--"Children ARE a blessing, children ARE a blessing." I sometimes return to that "mantra" now that they are all teenagers. But I have more faith than I did then!
I read something lately about the influence of mothers in the context of perhaps the greatest mother that ever lived. It challenged me greatly, even though I am closer to the end of constant mothering than I am to the beginning. But I highly doubt that we ever quit being mothers, even when our kids are grown. It was written, of course, concerning Mary, the mother of Jesus. If there is any woman in scripture that I would seek to reflect, it would be her.
J. Oswald Sanders writes, "Everything indicates that she was one of these rare women whose glory it is to prepare a noble life, losing themselves in it, and desiring to be glorified only in it's usefulness. Her song, reveals her as a devout, high-souled woman, fervently patriotic and a student of Scripture. Her song is patterned on that of an older saintly woman of the Old Testament, Hannah."
How refining being Mary must have been. How purifying being Hannah must have been. In light of what these women accomplished as mothers, the influence they wielded through their prayers, the kinds of men that they produced, and the impact their children had on the history of mankind, it is clear to me that "the hand that rocks the cradle IS the hand that rules the world" and I would add this is true if the one that rules the hand that rocks the cradle is the King of the universe."
Women of God, we MUST be women of prayer! We must approach the refiner's fire so that the dross of our lives does not affect the potential of our children's lives. We must realize that we, as mothers of prayer, hold the greatest power available in our hands and we must put stock in those prayers, by faith, believing that God hears and answers them, no matter what we may see right now. We must believe that when we train our children according to the Word of God, that they will not depart from it when they are older. But we, like Mary, must come to the point where our lives and our children are not about our pwn success, our reputation, or our happiness. No, they must be about producing usefulness in the Kingdom of God and for the Glory of God.
We must, as Hannah and Mary realize that our children belong first to God. We are only their caretakers. They belong to Him. And at some point, we must be willing to say, "be it unto me according to your Word." That may mean that the life we plan for ourselves will not go as planned. It may mean times of heart wrenching and exhausting battle in prayer. It may mean letting go of a child who is sent far away. But one thing I do know, that when we can submit ourselves to raising our children for God and truly trusting God, He will not disappoint, He will not allow their lives to be a waste. He will glorify Himself through them.