Hannah, What A Praying Woman & Mother!
Did you know that most Christians these days say that the area of their spiritual life that needs the most improvement is their PRAYER life? I’ve followed polls taken of Christians for over 40 years now and that has been the case almost every time. If professing Christians believe that their prayer life needs to grow more, why hasn’t it? I think Hannah, Samuel’s mother, holds some answers.
If I’m ranking the top mothers of the Bible, I’d have to give Mary the #1 slot; after all only 1 mother was chosen to give birth to the Son of God. But #2 would be HANNAH. Here is why and here are some answers about our prayer life. Open your Bible to 1 Samuel 1:1.
First, Hannah was a persecuted woman; persecuted every day in her own house. Hannah’s husband, Elkanah, had 2 wives: Peninnah and Hannah. Peninnah had children, Hannah was barren. Peninnah belittled and mocked Hannah every day. What a cross to bear, especially in that culture and time.
Second, Hannah’s husband didn’t get it, the pain of barrenness and ridicule. 1:8 He thought he could be a good enough husband to erase her agony, but he could not. Some agonies can only be understood by God.
Third, Hannah brought her deepest heartache/soulache to the LORD. This is one of her greatest strengths for us to learn from. Too often these days Christians go to social media for comfort. That comfort can NEVER heal our heartache/soulache, it can only be a temporary band-aid. We need to do more of what Hannah did and a whole lot less of that public media talk. Hannah went to the “home of healing”, to the throne of her heavenly Father. What a praying woman!
Fourth, when Hannah prayed, she prayed like her life depended on it. Examine the words in scripture about the intensity of her prayer time with God: with deep anguish - 10; weeping bitterly - 10; with a solemn vow - 11; persistently continued praying - 12; with her heart - 13; deeply troubled – 15-16; pouring out her soul - 15-16. Are any of your prayers this intense and deep? Sadly, not many of mine are. If more of our prayers were more like Hannah’s, maybe our prayer life would be one of the strongest parts of our spiritual walk instead of the weakest. What a praying woman!
Fifthly, in her prayer Hannah bound herself with an unthinkable vow of commitment. Every mother who reads her prayer surely swells up with tears at the thought of making that same vow: “Lord Almighty, IF you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, THEN I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.” This vow even exceeds all of the expressions of intensity listed above. Hannah vowed (promised God) that she would give her son away to Him. Mothers, what do those words do to your heart? She prayed for a son who she was willing to give away to God. Now that’s a praying woman!
Sixth, Hannah’s prayer was the real thing, not just words. Look carefully at 1:18: “Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.” After you pray about something critical in your life, does your countenance change, displaying peace and comfort? Or does your face display for all to see that your heart is just as fretful or troubled as before you prayed? Hannah truly handed her troubles off to God. That is why her face advertised a different message than before she prayed. What a praying woman!
Seventh, Hannah kept the vow she made in her prayer. This is the toughest part of her example as a prayer warrior. She held, nursed, cuddled, rocked, kissed and loved her son for 3-4 years, treasuring every moment. Then came the day mentioned in 1:24-28 “After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. When the bull had been sacrificed, they brought the boy to Eli, and she said to him, “Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” So if making the vow was hard, describe the day Hannah gave her 3-4 year old baby Samuel away. Can you even imagine what that day was like? Every time you have asked the Lord for a favor and promised Him something in return, have you fulfilled your vow? Have you ever promised such a treasure to God? Did you follow through? Hannah did; one of the hardest things imaginable. What a praying mother!
Eighth, what would you expect Hannah’s face to look like after giving Samuel away? What words would you expect to flow from her lips? What would you expect her posts, emails, tweets and chats to look like? If you were impressed with Hannah in 1 Samuel 1, check out chapter 2:1. “Then Hannah prayed and said: “My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance.” How anti-cultural are these words after she just gave her only child away? If you gave your 3-4 year old only son away, would these be your first words? And if that wasn’t impressive enough, in verses 2-10 she doesn’t do anything but brag God for His greatness and goodness. WHAT A PRAYING MOTHER!
Notice in Hannah’s second prayer there is nothing like: poor me, look what I gave up, please feel sorry for me, please hurt with me, please comfort me, etc. Instead she REJOICES IN THE LORD! What a powerful example for professing Christians today from a MIGHTY PRAYING MOTHER!
Hannah’s first prayer is AMAZING! But her second prayer is ASTONISHING! Few would be committed enough to the Lord to pray her first prayer; even far less who would pray her second prayer.
If we truly want our prayer life to grow into a giant one, we have to: 1- pray more often with the intensity of Hannah, 2- make vows to back up our requests like Hannah and 3- keep our vows when God blesses us like Hannah. God bless.
Mike Sublett is a pastor at Hi-Land Christian Church, 1615 N. Banks St., Pampa, Texas 79065. Email him at email@example.com.