Tag Archives: no holding back

Pouring Out

Prayer is often overcomplicated. There are so many books, sermons, and seminars telling people how to pray. Over the years I have heard numerous people say that they “don’t know how to pray” or that they think they are “praying wrong.” Some people are closed off when they approach God, despite the truth that God knows what is on each one of our hearts before we even approach Him. Some people stick to a form list or follow the same structure taught to them many moons ago so it is a routine. This is not what we read about when we look at Hannah’s approach.

In 1 Samuel 1, we read of Hannah praying to the Lord for a son. She was “deeply distressed.” She “wept bitterly” (v. 10). She was open. She was vulnerable. She laid it all out before the Lord. She did not follow a particular structure. She did not try to “do it right.” She wasn’t afraid of people seeing her deep in prayer. It was her and God. She truly was coming before the Lord. I can only imagine how she appeared. Eli the priest thought she was drunk.

When she responded to Eli, she said, “I have been pouring out my soul before the LORD” (v. 15). Today consider when you last poured out your soul before the Lord? Do you approach Him with what is truly on your heart or what you think you are supposed to say? Do you approach Him in a way that fits in a box, follows a list, or do you freely fall before Him and speak from your heart? Do you hold back or do you lay it all before Him? He cares what’s on your heart. He wants you to pour out your soul. No holding back. Give it all to Him.

“But Hannah answered, ‘No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the LORD.’” – 1 Samuel 1:15 [ESV]

Don’t Hold Back

We see many people not hold back. Many times it is when someone is having a tantrum or voicing an opinion. Then there are those who don’t hold back at the all-you-can-eat buffet. There are those who don’t hold back when they are racing or competing in sports. Not holding back means doing it all. It could be eating it all, giving it all, saying it all.

In today’s passage, we read about the Israelites who responded to Hezekiah’s command with generous hands. “They didn’t hold back, turning over a tithe of everything,” the Bible says. They gave the firstfruits of everything—EVERYTHING! There was so much stuff that was dedicated to God that it was piled in mounds. Look at the time involved—over three months of piling items. Talk about not holding back.

When I read of this it brings me great joy. I always love to read about people who are so generous and giving. It is such a special thing to give; it is a gift to give. I always get more joy from giving than from keeping. Sadly the statistics show that most people hold back a lot. I have heard it said if everyone tithed without holding back, giving the ten percent, people would be cared for and there would not be all of the situations we see all around the world. You might think that ten percent is a lot. You might think you cannot do it. But trust me, when you do it, God sees you through. You always have just what you need. So don’t hold back. Live with your hands open.

“As soon as Hezekiah’s orders had gone out, the Israelites responded generously: firstfruits of the grain harvest, new wine, oil, honey—everything they grew. They didn’t hold back, turning over a tithe of everything. They also brought in a tithe of their cattle, sheep, and anything else they owned that had been dedicated to God. Everything was sorted and piled in mounds. They started doing this in the third month and didn’t finish until the seventh month.”

-2 Chronicles 31:5-7 [MSG]

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