Worship Again and Again

“The entire family got up early the next morning and went to worship the Lord once more. Then they returned home to Ramah.” 1 Samuel 1:19a (NLT)

I watched from the park bench as the toddler lifted his feet once more – mom in one hand and dad in the other. He knew if he held his stocky frame off the ground, they would swing him forward to his delight.

“Again, again!” he shouted. The sweet pattern repeated over and over until those worn out parent muscles just about gave out.

The boy’s squeals sent me back to a time with my own son, a time when a simple swing brought such joy. He used to say those same words when he wanted more. More playtime. More laughter. More mom and dad.

Now at a whopping 16-years-old, those moments of unbridled freedom have been replaced with the seriousness and responsibilities of pre-adulthood. Driving tests, job searches, and college planning fill the daily schedule. But in the midst of the madness, I long for those words I once heard. “Again, again.”

I wonder if God feels this way about me, too.

I try so hard to be a good grown-up, a responsible parent, a trustworthy employee. I write a bold checkmark next to my time with God on my never-ending list of things that will make me a better person. When all the time, God’s greatest desire is for me to seek one more moment with Him.

“The entire family got up early the next morning and went to worship the Lord once more. Then they returned home to Ramah.” 1 Samuel 1:19a (NLT)

In today’s verse, a woman named Hannah and her family made their annual journey to the temple to worship God. They’d walked the same path year after year, but this time God had a special message for Hannah.

While praying, Hannah received her miraculous promise from the Lord through Eli the priest. God assured Hannah she would soon have the son she’d wanted for so long.

Hannah had every reason to pack up their supplies and race back to Ramah. After all, she had to prepare for the arrival of her promise! Yet she and her family decided the next morning to go back to the temple and worship God again. Instead of rushing off toward her answer, Hannah returned to God’s presence once more.

One more chance to thank Him for answered prayer.

One more time to praise Him, just because.

One more moment in the comfort of His company.

Hannah had it all figured out. God saw Hannah’s humble heart. And because of her devotion, God did indeed fulfill His plan for her as the rest of verse 19 confirms.

“And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her.” 1 Samuel 1:19b (ESV)

Hannah knew the importance of worshiping God again and again. When I read these words, I can’t help but question. Have I let the weight of life’s demands distract me from spending time with God?

As I think about Hannah’s story, I begin to sense God giving me that all-knowing smile and whispering His response. Maybe in all my striving I’m forgetting about what that unbridled freedom feels like. Maybe my son isn’t seeing in me the joy of seeking more of Him.

If you’ve been in that place too – a place where your worship has faded with the growing responsibilities of life – let’s learn from Hannah’s example today.

Photo courtesy of Garrett Brown

Let’s lift our feet with adventurous abandon, knowing God’s grip won’t let go. Let’s swing forward, laughing along the way. And when our tip-toes touch the ground, let’s call out to our heavenly Father, “Again, again!”

God is ready to raise us up, and his muscles never grow tired of holding us.