On Sunday, as part of Sundays with Zemi, I released this word to the Hannah’s. These are my notes. I pray this word blesses you.
Call forth your Samuel; Samuel meaning your answered prayer.
During FOCUSFAST, as some of you may recall, I asked for all of the Ann’s to speak up. The Lord dropped the name Ann in my spirit so I requested everyone with a derivative of the name Ann to speak: DeAndra, Joanna, etc. I thought it ended there. As days passed the Holy Spirit revealed to me that just as we were talking about Jael and Deborah for the 2021 FOCUSFAST, we would be talking about Prophetess Anna in 2022.
In Luke 2, we read that Anna, in her old age, saw the Messiah and declared to all how He would redeem Jerusalem. I therefore titled the year “The Year of Anna” and declared the theme for the 2022 FOCUSFAST, “Witnessing the Promise.”
Jesus is God’s promise fulfilled.
We will spend a lot of time in Luke 2 in December so today I want to tell you what God has been saying to the Hannahs.
The Year Of Anna
The Biblical meaning of Anna is ‘gracious; one who gives’.
Anna is also the Latin version of the Hebrew name Hannah.
Anna we encounter in the New Testament, and Hannah we encounter in the Old Testament.
Hannah stems from the Hebrew name Channah (shout out to our Singles Team Lead who has the same name) and it means: ‘favor; grace’.
Together: one who gives favor and grace.
We declared 2022 as The Year of Anna – the year to witness the promise -so, by extension, it is also The Year of Hannah – the year of the answered prayer.
We encounter Hannah in 1 Samuel. We know that Hannah was barren and married to a man with two wives, the second wife being Peninnah who taunted Hannah for being unable to conceive.
Hannah was so overcome with grief and despair that she wept and refused to eat. She was in deep anguish – so much so that when she went to the temple to pray, she couldn’t even get the worlds out fully. Eli, the priest, thought she was drunk.
After Hannah explained herself to Eli, he said to her, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of Him.”
She replied, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.”
Afterwards, she went home, ate and no longer looked downcast. She worshipped the next day, went home to Ramah and made love to her husband. In the course of time, she became pregnant with Samuel.
Step 1: Lift Up Your Countenance
This past week as I was praying for someone who was approaching 40 without a child, the Lord gave an instruction, “Lift up your countenance!” As I recited it I could literally feel my chest lift and back straighten as I adjusted my posture.
It wasn’t until FOCUSFAST 2021 that I learned how much God cares about our posture and our countenance. These are outward manifestations of our emotions. Our posture and facial expressions express to others what our emotional state is.
When you are sad, you may hunch over, be sullen, frown.
When you are embarrassed, you blush, you may duck or hide your face.
When you are scared, it shows in your face, you may cower or look shocked and afraid.
Posture and countenance – the look of our face – say a lot about our emotional state.
And I want you to know that God cares about your posture and your facial expressions. He cares about them because He cares about your heart and your mind and your soul.
Psalms 42:5, Psalms 42:11 and Psalms 43:5 are similar: “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”
Proverbs 15:13: “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.”
When we are fasting we are told to wash our faces and anoint our heads so that we don’t appear outwardly to be fasting but so that the Lord who sees in secret will take record. Countenance matters to God because it is an outward expression of the heart.
In Nehemiah 2:2, the King was able to tell Nehemiah was sad because of his countenance. In Genesis 4:5 Cain saw that his offering was rejected and his countenance fell, because he was ashamed/embarrassed.
Now back to Hannah. In 1 Samuel 1:18 it reads, “So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.”
The very same thing that first changed for Hannah must be the first thing that changes for you: your countenance. Lift up your countenance Hannah! Be no longer downcast. Be no longer disquieted / disturbed in your soul. Lift up your countenance!
Bahamians will get this right away because our national anthem says, “Lift up your head to the rising sun.” Lift up your head my sisters.
Numbers 6:26 says, “ The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” Lifting up your countenance is a sign of favor. Hannah’s name means what? Favor.
It’s time to lift up your head.
A hymnist writes,
“Lift up your countenance
All ye saints of God
Lift up your countenance
for the victory is won
Lift up your countenance
Ang give the glory to the Holy one”
We don’t do it much anymore – though we should – but people would literally bow and lay on their faces in the presence of God. (Genesis 17:3: “Abram fell on his face and God talked with him.”) Again I say, posture matters to God.
Lift up your countenance, change your facial expression and adjust your posture.
Victory is won.
Step 2: Call Them Forth
Later during the week, I was praying for another woman and the Lord said to call the children forth. I am also in the wait for children and I have never done this myself, but the Lord’s instruction was to call the children forth. Petition for the release of your promise.
Hannah petitioned the Lord and just as Eli said to her I say it to you, “Go in peace and may God grant you what you have asked of Him.”
May the Lord remember you.
1 Samuel 1:19-20: “And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the LORD remembered her. Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD.”
Genesis 30: 22-23: “And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach”
In the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying “Because I asked the Lord for him.”
Samuel means GOD HAS HEARD. Call your children forth. Call, that God may hear you.
Step 3: Prepare for the Promise
As God has confirmed the promise is on the way, get ready. Take your prenatal vitamins – not all make you feel sick, find one that works for you. Get your finances together. If you don’t have healthcare, seek out an insurance plan. Watch your diet. Discuss parenting styles with your husband. Prepare.
Now you may not be in the wait for a baby but this message still applies to you. No matter what you may be in the wait for: lift up your head, adjust your countenance, call it forth in prayer, trust that God has heard you and prepare for your promise.
God bless you,