Hannah is a woman of honor, dignity, and righteousness. She has a sorrowful spirit because she is unable to conceive. In biblical times, a childless woman was considered a disgrace, and cursed. Hannah prays to God for a son. The Prayer of Hannah breaks down Hannah’s situation and explains it in ways that can help modern-day readers.
Hannah’s first prayer is a prayer for change: “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 male child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head” (1 Samuel 1:11).
How does this apply today? It is often in the bitterness of our soul that we become bitter with God. At times, we place the burden of blame upon ourselves. We focus aimlessly on our condition and circumstance, and feel we can solve the problem without intervention from God. God is the ultimate Problem Solver. Nothing is impossible for God!
Elkanah, Hannah’s husband, loves her regardless of her inability to bear him a son. He sets the example for modern-day husbands. The author promises to husbands that generosity brings a blessing. A man is to love and respect his wife. God loved us first, before we loved him. God showed us the ultimate love by sacrificing his only Son on the cross. God commanded all men to love their wives as Christ loves the Church.
Hannah made a vow to the Lord while praying to conceive a son. She said, “Then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head” (1 Samuel 1:11). A vow or commitment to the Lord is not like a promise to a friend or associate. How often do we make commitments or promises that we fail to keep? A vow to the Lord is a sacred oath that requires immediate payment in full. God is the Supreme Collector of Payments. Hannah specifically asks the Lord to “remember me, and not forget thine handmaid” (1 Samuel 1:11). When we submit to God in a humble manner in prayer, he will remember us in our time of need. God is not forgetful. Although we forget about God many times, God never forgets us.
Throughout every word of Hannah’s prayer there is exaltation of the Lord. God delivered to this barren woman a son; a son she gave to the Lord forever. Yet, she continued to worship the Lord and demonstrated a level of appreciation that would surely show God her sincerity. God will hear the praises of the meek and humble and respond according to his will. Hannah shows us that God is worthy and deserving of praise.
Hannah illustrates that prayer is a powerful weapon against the forces of despair. The challenge before us is to take the example set by Hannah and use it to benefit our lives today. The essential point is to be in constant prayer to the Lord. We are to be consistent in our worship before the Lord. We must maintain our faith in God, that he will deliver our request in due season. We are to walk in the path of righteousness, always seeking the face of God and avoiding evil. Our absolute acknowledgment before the footstool of God is that he is the only savior we have. There is no other god above our God. He is the God of eternity.
We can all be strengthened, encouraged, and inspired by the story of Hannah.