1 Samuel 1:1 – 2:11
I have always loved studying the women of the Bible. Recently the Sunday school lessons at our church have been on several different women in the Bible. I love digging into the lives of these women because by their actions they set the example of what I need to be. In some cases, I learn from their great characteristics, and in others I learn by seeing the mess they made of their life and how careful I need to be in doing right. Time after time you see how their actions and decisions affected their family’s lives for generations.
One of my favorite women of the Bible is Hannah. When you look at many of the great men in the Bible and of today, many of them have come from homes where they had a godly mother who influenced them for right. I think that’s why it’s so very important that we
as women are in our Bibles and praying like we should. We are the Holy Spirit of the home, and we influence our families strongly in every area. I want to be very careful to be influencing for the right and not for what is easy or what I prefer over what God’s will is for us. Hannah was a godly mother.
When we read about Hannah’s life, we see that she could not have a child and desperately wanted one. This was something that she wanted so much that her heart was grieved to the point that she wept and went without eating. This was something that obviously consumed her. Her husband, Elkanah, had a second wife whose name was Peninnah, and we see in verse 2 that she had children. As we read verses 6-7, we see that Hannah lived with an adversary who provoked her because she couldn’t have a child. “And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb. And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.” The word “adversary”is single, and many believe her adversary to be Peninnah. I can’t imagine how hard it was for Hannah to live in the same household, day after day, and seeing Peninnah’s children about, seeing how she dealt with her children, seeing her loving on her children. This had to be part of what grieved Hannah. Deep inside of her, she felt the need to have a child of her own.
You can’t help but think that Hannah might have had that woman’s intuition that we seem to have that she was to have a child, so her desire is what pushed her to keep begging God for a child. I love that she put action to her desire. She was so intent on having this child that the Bible says she wept sore at the temple. She knew if she wanted a child, the only One Who could give it to her was God. She was so intent in her prayer, so consumed and wrapped up in her prayer, that Eli the priest thought she was drunk. Hannah vowed to God that if He gave her a man child, she would give him back to the Lord. In verse 11 it says, “And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.”
God heard her and gave her a son, Samuel, and she kept her promise to give him back to the Lord. There are so many truths that can be learned through this story, but the one thing that stands out the most to me is Hannah’s passionate prayer life. Do you have something you need answered today? We all know we have a great God Who can answer any prayer we have, but sometimes He wants to see how badly we want it.
Here’s a few things I learned from Hannah’s passionate prayer life.
1. Pray specifically! She knew exactly what she wanted, and she prayed exactly for that. She didn’t get sidetracked, she was consumed by it. When you read 1 Samuel 1:11, we see that even though God knew everything about her, she still was specific in asking Him, “if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid,” She wanted to tell Him about her closed womb, and was specific in telling Him her affliction. Yes, God knew about it, but she was reminding Him. She then asked the Lord, “and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid,” She knew that there were many people with needs and sorrows, but this prayer request was so important to her she wanted God to remember her and not forget her. She was also very specific in asking for a son, “but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child,” She didn’t ask for a daughter, but a son whom she could give back to Him, “then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.” How specific are you in your prayer life?
One thing I’ve learned in the past few years is to be more specific with my prayers. As a parent, we can have a child come and ask us for something they think they need. Sometimes that need may seem very frivolous to us and they may ask flippantly at first. But, the more specific they are in telling us why they need it, the more important we see it is to them, and even see more of the need of why it will benefit them, the more apt we are to help meet this need. I want to go to God and be so detailed and specific with Him that as I pour my heart out to Him, He understands and sees my need. I’m presenting a detailed case before Him.
2. Pray Persistently! Hannah was persistent in her prayer life. I can say that most of my prayers I don’t feel are answered immediately. Many of them take time. I’m like most women, we aren’t very patient, and we are always trying to speed things along in our day. The benefit of praying persistently about something is that it grows us. With our daughter, I don’t always give in to something she may want. But, when she persistently comes to me about it, I am more apt to give in because she is persistent, and I see how much it means to her.
When I am tempted to give up on something I am praying about, I always tell myself the answer is around the corner. I love that saying, God’s answers are rarely early, never late, but ALWAYS on time. In our family we’ve prayed for other family members for years to get saved. I think often of how many of them may not be in Heaven had we all quit praying and not been persistent with the Saviour. How sad it will be when we get to Heaven and find out that there were many answers to prayer we could’ve had if we had just been persistent.
3. Pray Believing! I believe there is power in prayer! I know I personally cannot see answers to prayer unless I believe God can and will do it. The verse I choose to use as my life verse is Luke 1:37, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” As humans, we often look at the things we are praying for and can’t figure out how in the world they can be answered. It’s not up to what we think, but up to the One Who can do far more than we can ask or think. Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,” There are days when I have to claim every verse I can think of, there are days I feel that I just don’t understand. But, when I lean on different Scriptures like, Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” I realize I have to keep believing God will come through even when I don’t understand. Hannah prayed until she got an answer from God. She believed God could and would answer her. I’m sure there were times when she looked at Peninnah’s children and wondered if God was going to answer her prayer. She just had to keep believing that God was going to hear her. Do you believe God can and will answer your prayers?
Here are some additional things that I learned from Hannah’s life.
Praise God for answers to prayer! Once she received the answer to her prayer, she didn’t forget about God until the next time she needed something. Hannah praised Him in chapter 2:1-10. Be sure that when you see answers to prayer you praise God and thank Him for what He’s done. Don’t be afraid to share with others what God has done for you! There’s no greater way to encourage others to keep praying than to share your answers to prayer. I love hearing how God answered someone else’s prayer. There’s an excitement in hearing what God has done that motivates me to keep praying and waiting to see what God will do with what I am praying about.
Don’t be selfish! Hannah wasn’t selfish with what God gave her. She made a vow to God that she would give Samuel back to Him and she followed through. Because she did this and followed God’s will for her life, God used her to produce the greatest prophet in the Bible, Samuel, who was known as the “king maker.” Samuel anointed both kings, Saul & David, and from David’s lineage came Jesus. You can’t help but see the blessings that came to Hannah for following through. Not only did God bless her with Samuel, but if you look in 1 Samuel 2:21, “And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the Lord.” God did bless her with more than what she could’ve asked.
Do you have some prayers you need answered? Do you desire to see God work through your prayers? I encourage you, read through the life of Hannah, claim the things above and get passionate with your prayer life!