Hannah had no children. Each year, her husband, Elkanah, worshiped and sacrificed to the Lord in Shiloh. Two sons of Eli were priests to the Lord there. Hannah’s rival, Peninnah, Elkanah's other wife, provoked her bitterly to irritate her because the Lord closed her womb (I Sam. 1:1-8).
Hannah was greatly distressed and wept while praying, “Look on the affliction of Thy maidservant and remember me, and not forget Thy maidservant, but wilt give Thy maidservant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head" (1 Sam. 1:9-11).
She continued praying before the Lord and Eli was watching her mouth. Hannah was speaking in her heart with only her lips moving and her voice not heard. Eli thought she was drunk. Hannah told Eli that she was oppressed in spirit and was pouring out her soul before the Lord because of great concern, sorrow, grief and hurt. Eli affirmed her saying, “May God grant your petition you asked of Him” (I Sam. 1:12-18).
Elkanah had relations with Hannah and Lord remembered her. She conceived and gave birth to Samuel saying, “Because I have asked him of the Lord” (1 Sam. 1:19-20).
Hannah decided not to go with Elkanah to offer the yearly sacrifice so she could wean Samuel allowing him to appear before the Lord. Elkanah told her to remain and wean him so the Lord could confirm His word (I Sam. 1: 21-23).
After she weaned Samuel, Hannah took him, a three-year-old bull, one ephah of flour, jug of wine and brought him to the house of Lord in Shiloh even though he was young. They slaughtered the bull and brought the boy to Eli. Hannah said, “For this boy I prayed (interceded) and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of Him. So I have dedicated (loaned) him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the Lord” (1 Sam. 1:24-28).
Lessons on Prayer:
1. Prayer that God hears begins out of your distress, bitterness and anguish of soul.
2. Prayer that God hears comes from a humble and contrite heart (Hannah used the word, "maidservant," three times).
3. Prayer that God hears is nourished as you acknowledge your emotions like hurt, sorrow and grief.
4. Prayer that God hears is thoughtful as you consider the important issues at stake (Israel needed new, godly leadership since Eli and his sons were corrupt).
5. Prayer that God hears is continuous, fervent and focused.
6. Prayer that God hears takes what's most precious to you and dedicates it to Him knowing it's on loan.
What is causing distress, bitterness and anguish of soul in your life? Use the above six lessons as a checklist as you begin praying about that issue and watch God answer your prayer.