By: Naomi Jackson
Hannah had shed countless tears over her barrenness. The taunts by Elkanah’s second wife weighed heavily upon her, stealing her joy. His attempts to console her proved ineffective, as only God was able to fully comprehend her heart’s deepest longing for a child. He alone could help her unravel the tangled emotions she wrestled with. So Hannah arose and went to the tabernacle to pray.
Laying her burden before the Lord in view of Eli the priest, she vowed to return her child to God for His service if only He blessed her with a son. She must have felt elated when Eli later told her, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him” (1 Samuel 1:17). Suddenly her entire outlook changed.
Like Hannah, we too must learn to pray boldly and purposefully. Hannah didn’t just want a son to soothe her pain. She wanted to raise a child to give back to the Lord for the sake of His kingdom. Her prayer served as a game changer for the nation of Israel, and God was eager to bless. “Our prayers are not to be a selfish asking, merely for our own benefit,” Ellen White writes in Christ’s Object Lessons. “We are to ask that we may give” (p. 142).
How might the gospel be catapulted forward if we determined to use the blessings we receive to enrich others? What gifts might God shower on us that He wouldn’t otherwise entrust us with? How earnestly do we seek for His kingdom to come? May God be able to say of us, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God” (Acts 10:4b).
The Link of Blessings
By: Samuel Cho
It was a few days before Christmas of 2015, and those 8 boxes of Spirit of Prophecy books, donated for a church in São Tomé and Príncipe, were still in the corner of my office at Everlasting Gospel Publishing Association (EGPA) in South Korea. The delay was due in part to the high cost of airmail to the small islands in the Atlantic Ocean, but also because the cargo service was only guaranteed in the summer at peak tour season. However, seeing those boxes sitting in the same spot for so long compelled me to do something before another year passed by.
During the youth Bible study gathering that Sabbath at Sahmyook University International Church, a group of young people specifically prayed that the Lord would open a way to help people in São Tomé and Príncipe. It was a rather unusual prayer. Normally they prayed for personal issues, such as family and friends, not for a country and people completely unfamiliar to them.
The following Monday morning we received a phone call from an old friend. He wanted to place an order for his upcoming mission trip, but strangely he asked if we had any additional projects he could assist with. I knew he did not intend to give a large amount, but somehow I shared with him about the São Tomé project. He explained he would not be able to sponsor the entire project, but later that afternoon he sent us the full sum for the shipment!
Now with money in hand, we were unsure about the cargo service. We grew frustrated when our agent told us the shipping price had almost doubled since it was not the best time of the season. That afternoon I knelt down with my family and asked God to step in once again. Just 5 minutes after praying, our shipping agent called to inform us that they had found a new liner that would transport our boxes at the original price. We thanked God for the series of quick answers to our prayers.
I shared this exciting testimony with my friends at dinner that evening, praising God for His providence and His constant care for us. After our small yearend party finished, another friend approached me and said he was impressed to give a donation to send books to mission fields. I did not know how much he was going to give, but when I checked the bank transfer the following morning, I was once again amazed at God’s precise care. The donation was the exact amount needed for 3 shipments that were requested from the Philippines that very morning.
Our prayers are still offered up for many Spirit of Prophecy printing and distribution projects around the world. One of them is a new edition of The Great Controversy in Thai, which EGPA is helping raise funds to print. No matter how big or small our burden has been, when we ask God to help us give to others, we have learned that God Himself makes it a top priority. It is our great joy and privilege to be a small link for Jesus and His blessings.Samuel Cho serves on the leadership team at Everlasting Gospel Publishing Association.
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