(This is Part 7 of our devotional series “Breathe In – Breathe Out”.)
Good morning, peeps!
“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” – Hebrews 7:25 KJV
And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli marked her mouth. Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard…” – 1 Samuel 1:12-13 KJV
My alarm goes off at 3:30 every morning. And every morning at 3:30, I immediately go into prayer. I am extremely tired at 3:30 in the morning. I struggle to get the words out at 3:30 in the morning because my body is exhausted and it is hard to will myself to breathe in so that I can exhale the words of my prayers. I’d rather just say them in my head. Seems simple enough, right? But I know me: if I don’t make the effort of getting up, kneeling and speaking words audibly, I will go right back to sleep. But even more than that, I feel guilty: if I’m not speaking the words out loud, I feel God will be like, “Really? I was gracious enough to wake you up and I helped you breathe while you were asleep. You can’t even make the effort to say the words with the breath I’m giving you? Wowwwww.”
Sometimes I just don’t have the strength.
If/when I go hiking in the woods, I’m taking someone with me. I think I’m pretty tough and would most likely return unscathed – I am woman, hear me roar – but I still want someone around to hear me roar. When you hear stories of people dying in the woods, they are usually found alone. Poor unfortunate souls who didn’t think the buddy system would work for them. So when they suffered a life-threatening injury or fell out due to exhaustion, there was no one around to hear their call for help. “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Do people not know that saying?? Real-life does not have talking bears that will run into the nearest village to alert the townsfolk that there’s a ‘man down’ situation in the northwest corner of the woods underneath the birch tree, two furlongs south of the river. No. Weeks later, someone will stumble upon a bear picking its teeth with a femur-shaped toothpick, sock still attached. That’s sad. I hate hearing of those things, but the ones that really break my heart are the stories of people who were found just a few hundred yards away from safety. They didn’t have the strength to go any further.
Sometimes you just don’t have the strength.
There’s tired and then there’s tired. If you’re physically tired, the remedy to that is pretty simple: rest. But what if you are mentally, emotionally or spiritually tired? What’s the remedy for that? This is where we find Hannah in our key scripture. She was tired – exhausted to the point where she couldn’t even make a sound, not even in prayer. Before you get snippy and say, “Well, shucks, Hannah. Everybody’s tired. Big whoop. Put your big girl panties on.”, think about what she was dealing with. Being barren in those days was a horrendous thing to deal with. Sure it was a physical condition, but can you imagine what that did to her mind? This was considered a curse and nobody wants to be around cursed folks. You might say, “Well, at least she had her husband.” She did. You read how he tried to comfort her by letting her know she was enough. He gets booku brownie points for that. She still had to deal with this alone. Even going to the temple daily, surrounded by other worshipers – she was still alone. Even if she had her 7Up Sisters sending her daily devotionals written on scraps of parchment, she was still alone. It wouldn’t have mattered if they too were barren. She still had to deal with this alone. She couldn’t use the buddy system for this. And there is nothing lonelier and more exhausting than praying over and over about something, but seeing nothing change. Hannah was alone and tired. If you don’t even have the strength to make a sound, who’s gonna hear you if you fall?
We have an intercessor.
I was reminded of that as I struggled to pray aloud this morning. I was like, “God, I am so sorry. The least I could do is make the effort to pray out loud. I’m so tired” In my heart I heard, “I hear you even when you don’t have the strength to make a sound. You have an intercessor.” If you are in a place today where life has drained every ounce of umph you thought you had and you don’t have the strength to exhale one more prayer to God, know this: you don’t have to. You have an intercessor. You don’t need to have the strength to exhale. You don’t need to have the strength to inhale. You don’t even have to breathe (but please do). God still hears you. Because of His Son. He hears your heart’s cry and what’s more, He’s listening for it. So if a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? I don’t know, but God does. Have a great day.