1 Samuel 1:3-10
3 Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the Lord Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the Lord. 4 Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb. 6 Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. 7 This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. 8 Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”
9 Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s house. 10 In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly.
Richard Foster wrote an influential book on prayer called Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home. In it he explores different directions of prayer (upward, inward and outward), and wide range of types of prayer (such as intercessory prayer or meditative prayer). One of these prayer types he simply called the prayer of tears, prayer which is simply an out-pouring of wordless emotion before God. Here Hannah shows us a clear example, bringing her feelings that can’t be articulated in words to him in all their honest rawness. When no one else can see or understand what we’re feeling, he can and does.
What emotions are you experiencing at this time? Don’t put them to one side as you pray, but offer them to God as part of your worship.