The public prayer of Hannah, faithful mother

Reading in the Book of 1 Samuel, we meet another of God’s chosen servants, Hannah, whose soul longed for a child. We learn she was a consecrated woman and had a good and faithful heart. For those that know the back of the book, we are aware that God honored her sincere request and allowed Hannah to become the mother of Samuel, the earliest of the great Hebrew prophets after Moses and the last of the judges. Her story breathes of her love and care for her firstborn.

Many Bible students are familiar with the fact that Hannah prayed for this child she so wanted, but perhaps do not know that when Hannah was praying publicly for this event that would change her life, the time and location were not the most suited for open prayer by believers. It is easy to believe that Hannah’s dreams were not shared by those in her home.

Hannah’s husband was Elkanah, a good but, for the most part, undistinguished priest. These were polygamous times and he and his other wife, Peninnah, had children, which tore at Hannah’s heart daily. It is suggested in history that Peninnah and others taunted Hannah for her lack of childbearing ability. Being the odd one out hurts, no matter the cause or time. Everyone wants to be included, and bullying is always bad. We also learn that Hannah was gifted with the needle and she could design and sew beautiful clothing and scarves.

The family made the journey to Shiloh to worship each year, and on this trip, Hannah saw other families fellowshipping and learning together. As her husband made his sacrifices in the tabernacle, he would give portions to his other wife, Peninnah, and to her sons and daughters. The trips became harder and harder on Hannah and on one such journey, she stopped eating and wept in sadness. Elkanah asked what was wrong (1 Samuel 1:8). In 1 Samuel 1:11, we read of Hannah’s faithful prayer and vow before the Lord: “If you will just give me a man child, I will give him back to you all the days of his life.”

Eli, the priest, saw her lips move but heard no sounds coming from Hannah’s lips. He asked if she were drunk, and Hannah replied, “No strong drink or wine has entered my mouth.” We can learn so much from Hannah. She continued to pray for what she wanted. Many people in today’s age and lifestyle pray one time for something and walk away. When God does not answer in the way and in the time they deem fitting, they become discouraged and lose faith and hope.

Hannah’s prayers were answered, and she named her son Samuel, meaning, “Asked of the Lord.” She kept her vow, and when it was time for the young boy to be weaned, she dressed him and took him to the tabernacle to serve as she had promised God.

I cannot overemphasize here the importance of a godly mother, grandmother or other influential Christian person in the lives of others. Where might we be today if someone had not interceded in our behalf? Are we passing that tradition on to others who will follow us?

My own heart has been pricked as I write this column to pray more for others and to be faithful in remembering to do it on a daily or even hourly basis. Perhaps others have prayed in the past for a need, for a person, for a resource, and we gave up when the answer did not come as expected. Let’s remember Hannah and be encouraged by her not giving up and continuing to pray until the answer came.


Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.