Unlike most of my classmates, I loved taking Greek and Hebrew in seminary. It helps that I had the most amazing, gorgeous tutor (my husband). The painstaking process of translating from the original languages illuminated the Bible for me like nothing else. Alas, you lose what you don’t use, so I currently don’t know as much as I did. There is one word in Hebrew that I remember: hin-nay’-ni (spelled phonetically). It’s just super fun to say. Try it. You didn’t try it. I’m telling you, you’re missing out if you don’t. Hinnayni means “Here I am!”
Once I learned this word, I started to notice it throughout the Old Testament. When God called Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, Abraham said “hinnayni” (Genesis 22:1). Moses said it when God spoke to him from the burning bush (Exodus 3:4). Isaiah said it in response to the Lord’s question, “Whom shall I send?” (Isaiah 6:8). Samuel said it when he thought Eli was rousing him from his sleep (but it was actually the Lord).
Don’t get me wrong, there’s no magic power in the word. It’s used in other, more common interactions throughout the Old Testament. The power is in the heart behind it. Declaring to the Lord, “Here I am” is responding to his calling and opening up yourself to his voice. “Here I am” is the less formal way of saying, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”
One of the most common questions people ask is how to grow spiritually. The answer is predictable: read the Bible, pray, go to church, get around other people who will help and challenge you to grow spiritually. To put it simply, just show up. There are seasons where it seems like Jesus is speaking to you all the time and seasons of silence. In both, I urge people to keep showing up. Keep reading the Bible. Keep going to church. Keep praying. Keep meeting with other Christ followers. Because even when the touchy-feelies aren’t there, every time we show up, we declare “Here I am” and give Jesus the chance to speak.
I encourage you to pause for a moment right now and say, “Hinnayni. Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” May he show up as you just show up.