What if your prayer resulted in more than what you asked? When I read the story of Hannah’s prayer I am struck by how God really gives her more than she asks. She is frustrated because she wants a child. Her pain is real and raw. This is not some minor issue for Hannah. The fact that she is pouring herself out in pain is revealed by Eli’s response to how she looked. For Hannah getting a child would be huge.
But God does what He loves to do. God gives her exceedingly, abundantly above what she could ask or imagine (See Eph 3:20). Not only does she get Samuel as a son she gets 3 more sons and 2 more daughters. Top it off Samuel becomes a key figure in the history of Israel.
Now God does not always answer us the way we want Him to answer. I was reminded at church this morning about when Mary and Martha sent a message to Jesus about Lazarus was sick. Jesus waited till after Lazarus was dead. Sometimes it feels that way. But sometimes Jesus takes those “non-answers” and turns them into the stories of a lifetime. He gave them more than what they asked; it just didn’t look like it at first.
Solomon asks for wisdom and God gives him that and long life and wealth. Elijah asks for a fire to consume the sacrifice and God consumes the altar as well.
Again God doesn’t always answer the way we want Him to, but the story of Hannah reminds me of the powerful trajectory of a single prayer and the nature of the God we pray to. He is a plus some kind of God. He loves to give us bonus answers. He answers and then some. He is God who gives press down shaken together and running over.