[by Barb Smith] Lately, I have been thinking back to the days when my husband and I looked to adoption as a way to have children we could not produce on our own. We had gone for prayer and then went through a battery of fertility tests and procedures to no avail, because God had a different plan.
After two years of pursuing adoption through private and government agencies, our hopes for a child faded. As a final option, we considered international adoption and pursued various avenues.
It seems, that desperate circumstances can cause us to do things we would not normally consider.
I fasted for several days at a time as we sought our first child.
“Oh Lord,” I prayed, “choose a child for us from somewhere in this world, direct our steps and cause our paths to cross.”
I petitioned God from every angle I could think. Months passed, as we waited for a response to our international application. My prayers became more persistent as the longing for a child grew inside me.
Through this difficult time, I was drawn to a story in the Old Testament. Hannah was a woman who was not able to give her husband a child and it grieved her greatly. To make things worse, her husband’s second wife taunted Hannah mercilessly because she could not bear children.
This embarrassed and grieved Hannah. She went to the Temple to petition God for a child. The heaviness of her heart had become a burden she could no longer bear.
“And Hannah was in distress of soul, praying to the Lord and weeping bitterly.” (1 Samuel 1:10)
Through tears, she poured out her anguished soul to God. Her appearance must have been unusual for one praying in the temple. Enough so, that the priest admonished her for being intoxicated. Hannah’s reply was one of innocence.
“No, my Lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I was pouring out my soul to the Lord.” (1 Samuel 1:15)
God heard Hannah’s prayer and gave her a son who would become one of the great prophets of Israel — Samuel.
In the same way, God wants to meet us when issues are personal.
There are different words used for prayer, one of them is supplication that refers to personal prayer. It differs from intercession which is interceding or praying for another.
Supplication is defined as the action of asking or begging for something. It refers to a bending down, bowing or kneeling in submission and crying out to God with weeping and gestures such as raised hands.
I can picture Hannah on her knees earnestly beseeching God.
I identified with Hannah, as the weeks and months passed and we heard nothing from our sources for international adoption. Desperation consumed me as my longing for a child would not be quenched. I prayed with a growing intensity.
But we are not alone during these times. The Bible says in moments of earnest supplication, the Holy Spirit will begin to intercede on our behalf.
“But the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance, because the Spirit pleads and intercedes (before God) in behalf of the saints, according to and in harmony with God’s will.” (Romans 8:26-27)
I sincerely believe this is what happened in our case. The doors opened. A year later, after working through red tape and government papers, our first international adoption was successful. With great joy and thanksgiving we brought our one year old son home.
Though I have not known childbirth in the physical sense, I experienced a spiritual pregnancy as my desire and longing for a child grew deep inside me over the weeks and months.
This spiritual pregnancy can happen in many situations, as God gives us a burden to pray.
Paul speaks of experiencing childbirth in a spiritual sense. He was labouring in prayer for the Philippians to grow in their faith. He used the phrase “birth pangs” to describe his burden.
“My little children, for whom I am again suffering birth pangs until Christ is completely and permanently formed (molded) within you.” (Galatians 4:19)