You need to know that God hears you. The story of Hannah in 1 Samuel tells of one woman’s personal heartache and trust in the One who could fulfill her desires. She poured her heart out to God, and He heard her. The Our Daily Bread devotionals selected for this collection reassure you that God is with you, God is for you, and God hears you. The personal stories, Scripture passages, and inspirational quotes lift you up and remind you that God is bigger than the trials you face.
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About the Author
Our Daily Bread is distributed around the world and is translated into more than 50 languages. Each month millions of readers turn to the pages of this beloved devotional for inspiration, comfort, peace, and hope. Visit odb.org for more information.
Elisa Morgan is in demand as a speaker and author who communicates the truth of God’s Word in captivating ways. She served 20 years as the CEO of MOPS International, cohosts the syndicated radio program Discover the Word, and has written over 25 books, including The Beauty of Broken, She Did What She Could, and Hello, Beauty Full.
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God Hears Her
1 SAMUEL 1:9–20
Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk. — 1 SAMUEL 1:13
One day I told my daughter I was going to read a grown-up book for a while, and then we would look at books together. When I started to read in silence, she looked at me and said, "Mommy, you aren't really reading." If I wasn't speaking, she assumed I wasn't processing words.
Like reading, prayer can be silent. The Old Testament character Hannah, who longed for a child, visited the temple and prayed "in her heart." Her lips were moving, but "her voice was not heard" (1 SAMUEL 1:13). She explained, "I was pouring out my soul to the Lord" (V. 15). God heard Hannah's silent prayer and gave her a son (V. 20).
Our all-knowing God searches our hearts and minds, and He hears every prayer — even silent ones. We can confidently pray — knowing He'll hear and answer (MATTHEW 6:8, 32). We can praise God, ask Him for help, and thank Him for blessings — even when no one else can hear us. If someone sees us talking to the Lord, he or she can say with confidence: "God hears her!" — Jennifer
The Old and the New
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! — 2 CORINTHIANS 5:17
Typical January resolutions: lose weight, exercise more, stop chatting on the cell phone while driving.
We want to change things that we're unhappy about — even though most New Year's resolutions last no more than three weeks.
What if you were to ask God what He wants you to change, improve, or begin this year? He might prompt you to:
Demonstrate more of the fruit of the Spirit in your life (GALATIANS 5:22–23).
"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (MATTHEW 5:44).
"Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation" (MARK 16:15).
"Be content with what you have" (HEBREWS 13:5).
As believers and new creations, we can be free from old patterns and failures. As we ask God to help us live each day in the power of the Holy Spirit, He hears us, and He will help us shed the old and embrace the new (2 CORINTHIANS 5:17). — Cindy
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation. — 1 PETER 2:2
When the people of Israel returned home after their forty-year exile in faraway Babylon, their spiritual appetite was weak (NEHEMIAH 8:1–12). They had departed from God and His ways. To get the people back to spiritual health, Nehemiah organized a Bible seminar, and Ezra was the teacher.
Ezra read from the book of the law of Moses from morning until midday, feeding the people with the truth of God (NEHEMIAH 8:3). The people listened attentively. In fact, their appetite for God's Word was so stirred that the family leaders and the priests and Levites met with Ezra the following day to study the law in greater detail because they wanted to understand it (V. 13).
When we feel separated from God or spiritually weak, we too can find spiritual nourishment in God's Word. "Like newborn babes, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation" (1 PETER 2:2). Ask the God who hears you to give you a renewed desire for relationship with Him. Then open your Bible and begin feeding your heart, soul, and mind with His Word. — Poh Fang
2 CORINTHIANS 4:7—18
We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. — 2 CORINTHIANS 4:7
In 2011 a massive earthquake and tsunami took nearly 19,000 lives and destroyed 230,000 homes in northeastern Japan. In its aftermath, The Nozomi Project, named for the Japanese word for "hope," was created to provide sustainable income, community, and dignity — plus hope in a God who provides.
Nozomi women sift through the rubble to discover broken china shards that they turn into jewelry, which is sold around the world. This provides a livelihood for the women and shares symbols of their faith in Christ.
In New Testament times, people hid valuables in simple clay pots. Paul describes how the treasure of the gospel is contained in the human frailty of followers of Christ: jars of clay (2 CORINTHIANS 4:7). He suggests that the meager — and even broken — vessels of our lives can reveal God's power in contrast to our imperfections.
When God inhabits the imperfect and broken pieces in our lives, the healing hope of His power is often made visible. No, His repair work in our hearts doesn't hide our imperfections. But perhaps those etchings in our beings make His character more visible to others. — Elisa
Time Alone with God
[Jesus] went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. — MATTHEW 14:23
Nearly a dozen little children were chattering and playing in the church room where I was helping. The room grew warm, so I propped the door open. One little guy saw this as his chance to escape, so he tiptoed out the door. Hot on his trail, I watched as he headed straight for his daddy's arms.
The little boy did what we need to do when life becomes overwhelming — he slipped away to be with his father. Jesus looked for opportunities to spend time with His heavenly Father in prayer. Some might say this was how He coped with the demands that depleted His human energy. In one instance, Jesus was headed to a solitary place when a crowd followed Him. Noticing their needs, Jesus miraculously healed and fed them. Then He "went up on a mountainside by himself to pray" (MATTHEW 14:23).
Jesus repeatedly helped hundreds of people, yet He didn't allow himself to become haggard and hurried. He nurtured His connection with God through prayer. How is it with you? Will you take time with God to experience His strength and fulfillment? — Jennifer
Driven by God
1 KINGS 8:54–63
"May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in obedience to him." — 1 KINGS 8:58
Recently I received an email inviting me to join a community of "driven people." When I looked up the word driven, I learned that a driven person is highly motivated to succeed and works hard to achieve her goals.
Is it good to be a driven person? Here's a fail-proof test: "Do it all for the glory of God" (1 CORINTHIANS 10:31). Think about what happened after Noah's flood. A group of people constructed a tower to "make a name" for themselves (GENESIS 11:4). They wanted to be famous and avoid being scattered all over the world. They were driven by the wrong motivation.
In contrast, as King Solomon dedicated the ark of the covenant and the new temple, he said, "I have built the temple for the Name of the Lord" (1 KINGS 8:20). Then he prayed, "May he turn our hearts to him" (V. 58). He was driven by God.
May our "hearts be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands" (V. 61). Then we'll be the right kind of driven women. — Keila
The King Could
Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." — MATTHEW 19:26
As a child, I had a favorite book of nursery rhymes. Mine told me about Humpty Dumpty, a big, egg-shaped creature with a painted face and skinny arms and legs, perched happily on a wall. Then he fell and broke into countless pieces. I felt hopeless when I read that they "couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again."
Since then, I've come to know Christ as my Savior and Lord. I've experienced His powerful and tender hands restoring the shattered pieces of my life and the lives of others. I've had the joy of seeing many seemingly hopeless drug addicts made new in Christ. So I've added a line to the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme: "What all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't do, the King could!"
Are you or someone dear to you feeling broken today? Remember, no one is hopeless and beyond God's saving help. Jesus said, "With God all things are possible" (MATTHEW 19:26).
When the broken pieces of life seem beyond hope of repair, don't give up. We have a King who can put people back together again. — Joanie
I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. — PHILIPPIANS 3:12
Emmett J. Scanlan, the actor who played Saul in the TV series A.D. The Bible Continues, portrayed Saul's efforts to eliminate believers in Jesus in a way that made me wince. I had trouble reconciling the fact that this man would become the beloved apostle Paul!
However, when Saul encountered Jesus while heading to Damascus, everything changed. And the minute his sight was restored and his calling was confirmed, the newly renamed Paul passionately dove into his work again. Only this time he was for Jesus and not against Him (ACTS 9:21).
Paul was a man of conviction and unbridled passion. Today people the world over read his letters for guidance and instruction in the Christian faith. His passion continues to resound through the ages (PHILIPPIANS 3:12).
What would the world look like if we lived for God with passion, conviction, and zeal? The world awaits that answer: "Creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed" (ROMANS 8:19).
As with Paul, may passion for God flow from us as creation rejoices in the revelation of God's amazing handiwork! — Remi
I Am Not Forgotten
We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. — PSALM 33:20
Waiting is hard at any time; but when time passes and our prayers seem to go unanswered, it's easy to feel that God has forgotten us. Worries loom large, and during the night the dark hours seem endless.
The psalmist grew weary as he waited (PSALM 13:1). He felt abandoned — as if his enemies were gaining the upper hand (V. 2). When we're waiting for God to resolve a difficult situation or to answer often-repeated prayers, it's easy to get discouraged.
Satan whispers that God has forgotten us and that things will never change. We may be tempted to give in to despair. Why bother to read the Bible, pray, or worship with fellow believers in Christ? But we need those spiritual lifelines the most when we're waiting. They help to hold us steady in the flow of God's love and to become sensitive to His Spirit.
The psalmist had a remedy. He focused on what he knew of God's love, reminding himself of past blessings and praising God. We can do the same, for we are never forgotten. — Marion
Faith Mixed with Doubt
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. — PSALM 42:11
When my close friend Sharon was killed in a car accident, my heart broke. I'm ashamed to admit it, but when life's circumstances hurt so much, my faith is often mixed with doubt. When Sharon died, I cried out to God with these questions:
Lord, I sure don't understand you. Why did you allow this death? "[The Lord's] understanding no one can fathom" (ISAIAH 40:28). "'My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord" (ISAIAH 55:8).
Lord, have you turned your back on the world? "God is seated on his holy throne" (PSALM 47:8) and "rules forever by his power" (PSALM 66:7).
Lord, do you care about the pain? Have you forgotten to be good? I am "forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to [me]" (PSALM 86:5).
Yes, Lord, you have been good to me in countless ways, including listening to my doubts and questions about you.
The answers God gives us in His Word may not take away our sadness, but we can always rest in the truth that He is wise, sovereign, and good. — Anne
Someone to Trust
Many claim to have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find? — PROVERBS 20:6
I just can't trust anyone," my friend said through tears. "Every time I do, they hurt me." Her story angered me. An ex-boyfriend she thought she could trust had spread rumors about her when they broke up. As she struggled to trust again after a pain-filled childhood, this betrayal proved it to her: people can't be trusted.
Her story was painfully familiar, reminding me of moments of unexpected betrayal in my own life. In fact, Scripture is candid about human nature. In Proverbs 20:6, the author voices the same lament as my friend.
What I could say to her is that betrayal is only part of the story. Although wounds from others are real, Jesus has made genuine love possible. In John 13:35, Jesus told His disciples that others would know they were His followers because of their love. Yes, people may hurt us, but because of Jesus there will also always be those who share His love unconditionally. Resting in Christ's unfailing love, may we find healing, community, and the courage to love others as He did. — Monica
2 CORINTHIANS 1:3–7
[God] comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. — 2 CORINTHIANS 1:4
Following a tumultuous season in her life, Bethany Haley Williams battled shame and brokenness. The journey was difficult, but through Jesus she experienced healing that transformed her life.
Prompted by the grace and mercy she received, Bethany formed Exile International, a nonprofit that implements art/expressive therapy and long-term, rehabilitative care to restore and empower war-affected children in Africa. Of her efforts, Bethany said, "When your greatest heartache becomes your greatest ministry, grace comes full circle."
Bethany now devotes her life to living out the words of 2 Corinthians 1:3–4. Having received God's comfort, she is now able to give others "the same comfort God has given [her]" (V. 4 NLT).
God knows about our suffering and misfortunes, and He is with us in the pain. He is merciful, loving, and attentive to our needs; and He can use whatever we experience to lift up and help others who are in need.
No matter what we've done or what we're facing, God is there to shower us with His compassion and love — gifts we can then share with others. — Roxanne
The Night No One Came
"Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven." — MATTHEW 6:1
According to legend, one winter night composer Johann Sebastian Bach was scheduled to debut a new composition. He arrived at the church expecting it to be full. Instead, no one had come. Without missing a beat, Bach told his musicians that they would still perform as planned. They took their places, Bach raised his baton, and soon the empty church was filled with magnificent music.
This story made me do some soul-searching. Would I write if God were my only audience? How would my writing be different?
When I write devotionals; I try to keep readers in mind because I want to say something they will want to read and that will help them on their spiritual journey.
I doubt that the "devotional writer" David, whose psalms we turn to for comfort and encouragement, had "readers" in mind. The only audience he had in mind was God.
Whether our "deeds," mentioned in Matthew 6:1 (NKJV), are works of art or acts of service, they're really between God and us. He alone is our audience. — Julie
Rings and Grace
"I will remember their sins no more." — HEBREWS 8:12 (ESV)
When I look at my hands, I'm reminded that I lost my wedding and engagement rings. I was multitasking as I packed for a trip, and I still have no idea where they ended up.
I dreaded telling my husband about my careless mistake — worried how the news would affect him. But he responded with great compassion and care for me. While there are times when I still want to earn his grace, he doesn't hold this episode against me.
So many times we think of our sins and feel we must do something to earn God's forgiveness. But God has said it is by grace, not by works, that we are saved (EPHESIANS 2:8–9). We have a God who forgives and no longer calls to mind the wrongs we have done.
We may still feel sad about our past, but we need to trust God's promise. The grace and forgiveness that come through faith in Jesus Christ are real. Praise God, when God forgives, He forgets. — Keila
Excerpted from "God Hears Her"
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