By Shannon Leibold
Throughout history, women have a special place in the story of redemption. They are life-bringers, world-changers and truth-tellers. They bring warmth, wisdom and grace to relationships. They speak truth, engage in good deeds, and nurture the next generation. These mighty women have one thing in common: they are women of prayer.
While the Bible mentions many women who made a significant impact, a few are remembered for their vibrant prayer lives. Here are five examples of a praying woman in the Bible:
Hannah was a barren woman who desperately wanted a child. To add to her pain, she was ridiculed and mocked by her husband’s other wife, Peninnah, who had no problem bearing children. Every year, she and her family made the pilgrimage to the temple, and there, in her suffering, Hannah turned to God. She poured her heart out, begged for a son, and promised to give him back to the Lord. First Samuel 1:10-11 says, “She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.” Hannah returned home and eventually God answered her prayer, and she gave birth to a precious boy, Samuel. And true to her word, when he was weaned, Hannah gave him back to the Lord in the service of the temple. Samuel became one of the most influential leaders in Israel.
Esther was a young orphan Jewish woman living in a foreign land. Through a series of surprising events, Esther found herself in the king’s harem and was later chosen as the new queen. One of the king’s advisors, the wicked Haman, began plotting to kill all the Jews. While the court didn’t know she was Jewish, Esther knew she was in this position “for such a time as this” and she was motivated to act to try to save her people. She fasted and prayed to God for strength and courage before approaching her husband the king to plead for her people. She also called her fellow Jews to fast and pray. God heard their prayers, and the king spared Esther’s people from annihilation.
3. Mary, Mother of God
Mary was a young Jewish woman betrothed to a fine Jewish, when God sent an angel to interrupt her life and put her on the path of His divine purposes. The angel Gabriel announced that Mary had been chosen to be the mother of the Messiah. The Holy Spirit would come upon her, and she would conceive and give birth to the very Son of God. She was faced with ridicule, scorn, and possible exile from her family, but she chose to trust in God. While pregnant, Mary visited her relative Elizabeth and erupted in prayer and praise at the miracle of God inside of her. Scripture doesn’t record very much about Mary after Jesus’ birth, but we can be confident that she was a woman of prayer as she raised Him to fulfill God’s plan of salvation.
4. Anna the Prophetess
Anna had a hard life. She had been married for only seven years before she became a widow. In a season of intense grief and desperation, Anna made her home at the temple – in the very presence of God. There she spent decades praying and worshiping the Living God. “And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.” We are not told in Scripture what Anna prayed for, but we know she was a faithful woman of prayer. The Lord blessed her faithfulness and allowed her to see the Messiah when Mary and Joseph brought their infant son to the temple.
5. Lydia from Thyatira
While in Philippi, Paul and his companions visited a place of prayer by the river, where several women gathered to pray. On of those women was Lydia, a woman from Thyatira, who was a seller of purple goods. She was a God-fearing woman who was dedicated to prayer and worship. As Paul explained the salvation offered through Jesus, the Lord opened Lydia’s heart to understand the gospel. She responded in faith, along with her whole household. No doubt her faithful prayers led to the saving of her family.
Women who pray make a difference in the lives of those around them. They move the hand of God and build the kingdom here on earth. They stand in faith in the face of adversity, they fall to their knees in gratitude, and they raise up the next generation to know and love Jesus. In fact, a woman who faithfully prays has an influence that is absolutely unparalleled. Let’s be known as women who are unwaveringly devoted to prayer.
A Prayer to Be a Praying Woman
Father God, we want to be women who call heaven to earth and beg You to move in our families, our communities and around the world. Help us to follow the examples of those who have gone before us, being devoted to prayer.
Meet the author
Shannon Leibold believes the greatest story ever told is the one found on the pages of Scripture. Captivated by God’s grand narrative of relentless redemption, she spends most of her free time immersed in the Bible, both as a student and teacher and curriculum developer. She is passionate about helping women find their way around the Bible and inspiring them to develop a deep hunger for God through His Word. She makes a home with her husband Kris and two teenage children in Ontario, Canada. She’s the one frantically taking notes through every sermon, playing podcasts during every mundane task, and devouring every book that sparks her interest.