We need the Psalms in our conversation with God!
Life is full of trials and temptations and, for some, even terrible situations. Our response to life's challenges and our prayers in those moments reveal what we truly believe about God. Are our prayers honest—gut level, bear all, pouring out our soul before God? Are our prayers humble—filled with an awareness of God's infinite power, glory, and majesty? In Hannah's prayers we see all this and so much more.
If we will be among those who consistently pray to God in heaven, we will be among those who consistently overcome on this earth!
Our challenge as a church and as Christians is to go and make disciples. It is a radical commitment that requires radical obedience, discipline, and faithfulness. If we respond to this great commission, we as a church and individuals need God! We will be dependent on God; we will have to be a praying church. To become effective in prayer and in reaching the lost, we pray like the Apostle Paul: thanking God, loving others, asking for courage, seeking wisdom, and expecting power.
Suffering is an inescapable part of life in a fallen world. If we are not suffering presently, we will certainly encounter it at some point. We must prepare our hearts and minds to approach suffering with faith in God. Three anchors serve to help us hold firm in times of suffering. First, we know that God is sovereign over all things, even our suffering. Second, we know that God uses our suffering, for his own glory but also for our own good, to produce the peaceful fruit of righteousness in us. Finally, we know that God answers prayer, and we do not simply pray to endure our suffering, but we persistently appeal to him in faith to deliver us from it. God is near to us in our suffering, and desires that we would turn to him as our only refuge in suffering.
Prayer is communion with God, and God desires that we approach him as confident seekers when we pray. We are to be confident in God's presence because we come in the name of Jesus Christ, our mediator and advocate. We are confident to make requests of him because we are not simply allowed but welcomed to make requests; we should pray with the expectation that God's spirit will move and intervene. And we are to pray with confidence in God's sovereignty, knowing that not only is he in complete control of all things, but he is good and wise and loving.
In the garden we see two provisions God has made for our sin. First, we see our suffering Savior, who suffered and died in our place to bear our sin and guilt—this is our justification. Second, we see the provision that God has made through prayer to help us resist temptation and sin day to day—this is our sanctification.
Psalm 51 serves as a model for the Christian's ongoing practice of repentance to God.