Do you follow through on your promises to other people? Have you kept them, or have you let someone down?

Or, perhaps you know what it’s like to have a person fail to keep their promise to you.

Promise keeping can get messy.

Remember Hannah, our #PrayBoldGirl? We learned how she boldly poured out her heart to God. I skipped something important about her prayer.

Hannah made a solemn promise to God.

In her prayer she made a vow. A vow usually contains an “if” and a “then.”

If you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.” 1 Samuel 1:11

If God gave Hannah a baby, then she would give the child back to God.

Wow. Hannah’s commitment took courage.

I can feel her heart breaking as she longs to snuggle a baby in her arms.

Then my own heart breaks for her. I imagine her tenderly dressing little Samuel in the special coat she had made for him, taking him by the hand to the temple and kissing him goodbye as he began his life in service to the Lord.

So many questions go through my mind. How did she let go of the child she wanted so much? What did she tell Samuel so he understood why his mommy was leaving him?

I have to ask myself if I could follow through on such a promise.

However, who wants to break a commitment to God? Not me. So, I would not make a vow at all. It bothers me because I feel weak in my faith.

If we want to pray bold, do we need to make a vow like Hannah?

A vow is like making a bargain with God. The thought of haggling with God makes me feel uncomfortable.

First, it gives the impression I don’t trust God to follow through. It’s as if I’m challenging God. Although I don’t think Hannah thought like that.

Second, I don’t trust myself to keep my side of the bargain.

You see, I might make a desperate deal with God in the middle of a life-threatening situation. It’s easy to commit my all to God when life is at risk, but I know I’d forget when life got back to normal.

Our promise keeping is imperfect but God’s promises are perfect.

[tweethis]Our promise keeping is imperfect but God’s promises are perfect. #PrayBoldGirl[/tweetthis]

In the Bible, although following through on a vow was taken seriously, it didn’t mean you were super spiritual either. Nor did it mean you were weak, or sinful, if you did not make a vow.

To give us an out, many scholars say vow making was more a thing in early biblical times. After Jesus, only remnants of vows exist.

One New Testament writer, James, uses the word “vow” for “prayer” when he talks about the prayer of faith—the type that is a fervent petition.

So, when we earnestly ask God  to do something, it’s like making a vow.

We might not make a promise to God, but when we ask God if he will do something for us, then we commit to being faithful to him whatever the answer may be.

More important than a vow is trusting God and relying on him. Isn’t that what Hannah did?

Oswald Chambers puts it as:

Faith is the supreme effort of your life—throwing yourself with abandon and total confidence upon God.

Boldness in prayer is having faith because God is faithful to us.

More important than a vow is trusting God and relying on him.

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Linking up with Holly Barrett at #TestimonyTuesday, Holley Gerth at Coffee For Your Heart

  • Rachel, this is a thought-provoking post. I never really thought about promising God something IF He granted my prayer. Yet Hannah did it! I do, however, prefer the model, “Lord, I’m asking you for this, but I will trust and love and serve you no matter what answer you give.’

  • God never ceases to amaze me. Whatever I read is what I need. I was reading about marriage a couple of days ago, then I have had the opportunity to share that. And remember the breathing? Yes, shared that. Now today, I have two gifts to mail, nobody would have remembered or noticed or missed them, but I keep my promises. My mother taught me well, but the Heavenly Father has an eye on this sparrow.

    • Rebecca, I love how God guides us to read what we need. Keep sharing. How great that your mother taught you how to keep promises. That’s wonderful.

  • Hi Rachel. I recently read the story of Hannah again in my One Year Bible. I agree, I can’t imagine vowing to give up Samuel after she waited so long. Yet now, I’m reading about how Samuel’s life brought righteousness in corruption. If Hannah hadn’t given him up for the Lord’s service, all of Israel would have suffered. This encourages me as a mom of a teen and two tweens. Visiting from #testimonytuesday this week.

    • Yes, Sarah, Samuel was a huge blessing to Israel. And, God blessed Hannah richly with many more children. A lesson to us when we have to give up things or let go of people we love.

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