I am an unhappy woman. I have had neither wine nor liquor; I was only pouring out my troubles to the LORD. Do not think your handmaid a ne’er-do-well; my prayer has been prompted by my deep sorrow and misery. Eli said, ‘Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of hi’ (1 Samuel 1:15-17).
Over my years in ministry, I have come to realize that you never truly know the burdens people are carrying until you take the time to listen. Today’s reading from First Samuel is a prime illustration of this. Eli, priest of the Lord’s temple at Shiloh, encounters Hannah in the depths of prayer, moved by the profoundest emotion. He assumes she is drunk and scolds her for disrespecting God’s sanctuary. Hannah pours out her soul to God’s servant and in turn receives his tender blessing.
Hannah’s prayer is one of many recounted in the Hebrew Scriptures, most by women of exemplary character and strong faith. They are on a par with David’s psalms in terms of their evocative power. These women united their personal supplications to the rituals of Israel’s liturgy of Torah, psaltery, and temple.
The same is true for us in the Eucharist, the public prayer of God’s holy people. To the Eucharistic Prayer, recalling God’s central act of redemption in the dying and rising of his Son Jesus, we add the prayers of our own hearts, our daily struggles, and our deepest longings and hopes.
Who or what do you bring to God in prayer today?
Let us pray:
“Lord, I call to you; hasten to me. Listen to my plea when I call. Let my prayer be incense before you; my uplifted hands an evening offering” (Psalm 141:1-2).
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)