We continue our series Go Boldly this week with the sermon, Pray. Studies show that a majority of people believe in prayer.  Prayer is the opportunity for us to connect to the very presence and person of God.  It remains a source of strength for many people because they sense this basic connection.  One the great sources of confidence for God’s people is the power of prayer. Most of us know the words of Jesus: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7 (NIV)). Yet, what happens when we are confronted with fear? Or we are overwhelmed with circumstances and problems? Or we wonder why our prayers have not been answered?  As we confront our lives it is difficult for us to “go boldly” because we wonder where is God in our problems and trials!  This week we turn to 1 Samuel 1:7-18.  This is the story of Hannah the mother of Samuel, one of the greatest leaders of the nation of Israel.  Samuel was a prophet and priest who would anoint the first two kings of Israel.  However, this great leader is born out of anguish, heartbreak, and prayer.  Hannah decides to change the direction of her life through prayer, rather than follow her usual path of hurt and frustration.  Hannah’s prayer shattered her sorrow, revived her spirit, and reversed her despair!  This moment was not just about the birth of a great leader, but it was also about how God can give us boldness through a prayer like Hannah’s. It is our most ardent prayer that you will find strength and power for your living as your read the story of Hannah in I Samuel 1:7-18:

This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. 8 Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?” 9 Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the LORD’s house. 10 In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly. 11 And she made a vow, saying, “LORD Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.” 12 As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14 and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.” 15 “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD. 16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.” 17 Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” 18 She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast. (NIV)