The book of 1 Samuel begins with the story of the prophet and last judge of Israel: Samuel. Samuel’s mother Hannah was barren and did not have any children of her own, which made her a social outcast at that time. Hannah shows herself to be poor in spirit in her prayer to the LORD for a male child in this portion of the prayer,
Now it came about, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli was watching her mouth. As for Hannah, she was speaking in her heart, only her lips were moving, but her voice was not heard. So Eli thought she was drunk. Then Eli said to her, “How long will you make yourself drunk? Put away your wine from you.” But Hannah replied, “No, my lord, I am a woman oppressed in spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have poured out my soul before the LORD.” (1 Samuel 1:12-15, NASB, emphasis added)
Hannah’s prayer was not audible, she only prayed in her heart. Her heart was not revealed to Eli, but rather it was exposed before the LORD for His viewing only. Her passion was seen by Eli the priest, but her words were not heard. Some prayers are so heartfelt that they need not to be shared with others. Hannah prayed with such emotion, with such pain on her heart, to a God who understands the troubled soul of man. The Lord desires us to come to Him with our petitions, especially those that are our deepest desires. By not speaking loudly Hannah acknowledges that God cares deeply about the heart and its desires.
LORD, the king finds joy in Your strength. How greatly he rejoices in Your victory! You have given him his heart’s desire and have not denied the request of his lips. For You meet him with rich blessings. (Psalm 21:1-3a, HCSB)
We come not to God with our voices, but rather with our hearts opened up before Him in pure humility and an attitude of being poor in spirit. We recognize that the answer is beyond ourselves and only the Lord can grant our requests to meet the desires of our hearts.
Hannah had a sorrowful spirit and her heart was grieving. She was deeply troubled by her circumstances. Though she poured no wine or intoxicating drink into herself she poured out her soul out to the LORD. This again is being poor in spirit; as we come to the ends of ourselves we come to the beginning of God. We become insignificant when dealing with circumstances and become dependent upon the Lord.
Meditate upon the following Scriptures:
I remember this as I pour out my heart…Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God. (Psalm 42:4-5, HCSB)
Trust in, lean on, rely on, and have confidence in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is a refuge for us (a fortress and a high tower). (Psalm 62:8, Amplified)
I pour out my complaint before Him; I reveal my trouble to Him. (Psalm 142:2, HCSB)
Arise [from your bed], cry out in the night, at the beginning of the watches; pour out your heart like water before the face of the LORD. Lift your hands toward Him for the lives of your young children, who faint from hunger at the head of every street. (Lamentations 2:19, Amplified)
God desires that you seek Him in prayer as one who is poor in spirit. Develop a prayer life like Hannah, pray from the heart; start today.