We continue our devotions for ladies with the story of Hannah of the Bible, one of the truly great women of the Bible. This Bible study teaches us of Hannah's great faith and her powerful prayer, helping us to learn the proper way to approach and view our troubles and our adversaries.
For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him.
1 Samuel 1:27, NKJV
Hannah of the Bible
The story of Hannah comes from 1 Samuel 1. If you are unfamiliar with this story, you may read 1 Samuel 1 Hannah of the Bible had a husband named Elkanah, a man from the tribe of Ephraim. Elkanah had two wives; (I see a problem coming already, don’t you?) Elkanah loved Hannah, but she was completely distraught because she had no children. To make matters worse, every time the family went to the yearly sacrifice at Shiloh, her adversary, Peninnah, would taunt her because she was barren. Even though Elkanah gave a double portion of the sacrifice to Hannah and just a single portion to Peninnah and each of her children, Peninnah would taunt her because she still received more because she had so many children. This made Hannah so upset that she would not eat, and could not stop from crying.
Hannah of the Bible
Hannah was so distressed the next time they went to the sacrifice that she prayed to the Lord, and wept bitterly. 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.
She continued praying before the Lord, with her lips moving. Eli the priest, seeing her and thinking she was drunk, said, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put away your wine from you.”
Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.”
Now that Eli understood, he told her, “Go in peace and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.”
Feeling much better, she went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad. God did answer Hannah’s prayer with a son, whom she named Samuel.
Hannah of the Bible
The next time Elkanah and his family were ready to go to Shiloh to offer the yearly sacrifice, Hannah did not go along. She told Elkanah that she would not go to the yearly sacrifice again until she had weaned Samuel. Because she remembered her vow to the Lord, she planned on taking Samuel to Shiloh to stay there and serve the Lord.
That is exactly what Hannah did when Samuel was weaned. She took him to the yearly sacrifice in Shiloh, and brought him to Eli and said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.”
1 Samuel 2 relates the prayer that Hannah prayed to the Lord. It is well worth the time to read it, for it expresses her great faith in God.
Samuel stayed with Eli and ministered to the Lord, and God blessed Hannah with many more children. Each year, when she and her children would go to the yearly sacrifice, she would bring a new coat she had made for Samuel.
Samuel, as you probably know, became one of the greatest prophets in Israel.
I always feel a great sense of awe and admiration for Hannah of the Bible. Very few women would have given their child to the Lord at a very young age, only to see him once a year.
In our studies of women in the Bible, the story of Hannah is a powerful example of the attitude we women should have toward the Lord. When Hannah was troubled, she took her problem to the Lord. I imagine Hannah prayed for a long time that God would bless her with children.
I’ve noticed that often, when we are speaking with another person about their troubles, we’ll say, “I don’t know how I can help, but I will pray for you.” Of course, that is the right thing to do, but how many times do you think of prayer as the last resort, because we were not able to help in a better way?
Prayer is the most important and powerful tool we have which allows us to speak directly to God and throw our troubles at His feet. Become an ardent woman of prayer, understanding that all we are and can ever hope to be rests in the hands of God, who loves us and understands our deepest needs and greatest grief even before we think to ask Him for help.
Pray first, and then go and offer your help to those in need.
God bless you,