Soon after I came to the US as an international student, I realized that I couldn’t get along in the country without a car. So I relied on the generosity of friends to give me rides. In time I began praying to God, expressing my belief that He would provide when He knew I most needed a vehicle. Amazingly, on my birthday before my senior year of college, a family I knew gave me their used car as a gift!

Hannah’s story in 1 Samuel brings inspiration for us to be persistent in our prayer life. Such practice doesn’t guarantee God will give us what we want, but we can be sure He’s there and that He cares. The journey Hannah went through before she received what she asked for was perhaps more important than her request.

Hannah had a painful problem. She couldn’t have children, which in that culture was considered a divine curse (1 Samuel 1:5-6). And if that wasn’t enough, she was being mocked for it as well (1 Samuel 1:6). But in spite of her challenges, year after year she joined her family to worship God at the tabernacle (1 Samuel 1:7). She didn’t give up on God.

On one occasion when she went to worship, Hannah was in such distress that she poured out her heart “in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord ” (1 Samuel 1:10). She could have cursed Him, could have become angry and bitter, or could have stopped praying. Yet she continued to trust in God’s goodness. And in His perfect timing He answered her plea (1 Samuel 1:20).

God is actively engaged in our lives today, and “he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him” (1 John 5:14). May we trust in His goodness even when the answers don’t come or aren’t what we desire.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Luke 1:57-80