Some background to Hannah’s story.
Read 1 Samuel chapter 1 so that you can better follow this story.
Hannah was in a polygamous marriage. Her husband, Elkanah, had two wives, although Hannah was his favourite. However, in a society that valued a woman’s ability to bear children almost above all else, Hannah was childless. This may have been why Elkanah had taken a second wife – so that he could ensure that he had heirs.
Hannah’s rival was fertile and often taunted Hannah about her infertility, rubbing salt into the wound. Hannah wept and cried and prayed and eventually wasn’t even eating. Then came the annual pilgrimage to the temple to offer sacrifices. In her state of utter desperation, she prayed so fervently that the priest, Eli, thought she was drunk BUT this time her prayers were answered.
Desperation taught Hannah to pray.
How did she pray?
- It was a heart prayer.
- It was a definite prayer . . . she asked for a boy.
- We must aim somewhere when we pray.
- What do you want God to do for you? Be specific.
- She poured out her heart to God.
- He has an extremely sympathetic ear.
- He sees and knows your circumstances. He knows just where you are. He knows your dreams, desires and longings.
- Another woman of scripture, Leah (Jacob’s wife), was also infertile and desperately unhappy and Genesis 29:31 says that “When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb.”
- Then take note of God’s loving words to the Israelites when they were in slavery in Egypt: The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land” (Exodus 3:7-8). Did you notice that he saw, he heard, and he was concerned?
- God cares about you too. He even knows how many hairs are on your head.
- It was a persevering prayer.
- Jesus told us not to give up when he told the parable about the woman who nagged the judge (Luke 18:1-8).
- Hannah even made a bargain with God. Her motives in making the bargain were right as God honoured it and accepted her child.
- It was a prayer that was answered.
- Out of her persevering prayer came the joy of her life and the saviour of Israel for that time.
- The priesthood at that time was wicked and Samuel was the towering figure who bridged the transition from the period of the judges to the period of the kings.
- Hannah only asked for a son, but God gave her so much more . . . one of Israel’s greatest leaders at a time of national crisis.
What do YOU want from God?
He can turn what looks barren in your life into fruitfulness.
What about your children? What do you want God to do for them? Trust God to answer your prayers for them.
You will be surprised at how often God’s answers are so much more than what you could ever have imagined.