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A powerful Bible study on Hannah in the Bible. We will look at 5 keys in the prayer of Hannah.
Hannah’s Prayer is one of the most famous prayers in the Bible. And there is a really good reason for that. It’s incredibly powerful to see this woman go to God in her desperation and see a radical answer that changed not just her life but also the nation of Israel.
Like I do with most of my articles I have a handy dandy table of contents. This is to make things easy for you. Feel free to click on certain sections or scroll and read as usual.
- Who Was Hannah In The Bible?
- Hannah’s Prayer In The Bible
- 5 Keys We Can Learn From The Life and Prayer of Hannah
Who Was Hannah In The Bible?
At the start of 1 Samuel we find out the Hannah is married to Elkanah. We also find out that Elkanah has a second wife Peninnah.
Hannah is barren meaning she was not able to have any children, while Peninnah had many children. Infertility alone is a hard road to walk. It’s painful to desire a family and not be able to have one. But Hannah was more than just that. It was not a double whammy but a triple whammy.
The Bible is clear that having children is a gift from the Lord. (Psalm 127:3) And the people of Hannah’s day knew that. Children helped you prosper and provide for you as you age.
This just caused even more pain since culturally she was viewed as cursed or not blessed by God.
Than to top it off Peninnah, Elkanah’s other wife was a jerk to Hannah. “And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb.” Like who does that?
In our eyes Hannah has been dealt a bad deck of cards. But remember God can win with any hand!
That’s a very gist of who Hannah is but here is some other interesting facts about Hannah.
5 Facts About Hannah
1. Hannah in Hebrew means graciousness, he was gracious, showed favor.
חַנָּה Channâh, khan-naw’; from H2603; favored; Channah, an Israelitess:—Hannah.
2.Hannah’s was very loved by Elkanah. (1 Samuel 1:4)
3. Hannah had 5 other children (3 sons and 2 daughters) after Samuel (1 Samuel 2:21)
4. Hannah understood spiritual things. She was familiar with prayer, the nazarite vow, and many other things.
5. Hannah is the mother of the prophet and last Judge of Israel, Samuel.
Hannah’s Prayer In The Bible
For the purpose of this article. I thought it would be helpful to have the two prayers of Hannah posted. To read the whole story click here: 1 Samuel chapters 1-2.
This way you don’t have to go look it up on another window or flip through your Bible.
This is the New King James Version of her prayers.
Hannah’s Prayer At Shiloh – 1 Samuel 1:4-18
And whenever the time came for Elkanah to make an offering, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the Lord had closed her womb. 6 And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb. 7 So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat.
8 Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?”
9 So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the tabernacle of the Lord. 10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. 11 Then she made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.”
12 And it happened, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli watched her mouth. 13 Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk. 14 So Eli said to her, “How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!”
15 But Hannah answered and said, “No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not consider your maidservant a wicked woman, for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief I have spoken until now.”
17 Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.”
18 And she said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
Hannah’s Prophetic Prayer – 1 Samuel 2:1-10
And Hannah prayed and said:
“My heart rejoices in the Lord;
My horn is exalted in the Lord.
I smile at my enemies,
Because I rejoice in Your salvation.
2 “No one is holy like the Lord,
For there is none besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God.
3 “Talk no more so very proudly;
Let no arrogance come from your mouth,
For the Lord is the God of knowledge;
And by Him actions are weighed.
4 “The bows of the mighty men are broken,
And those who stumbled are girded with strength.
5 Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
And the hungry have ceased to hunger.
Even the barren has borne seven,
And she who has many children has become feeble.
6 “The Lord kills and makes alive;
He brings down to the grave and brings up.
7 The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
He brings low and lifts up.
8 He raises the poor from the dust
And lifts the beggar from the ash heap,
To set them among princes
And make them inherit the throne of glory. “For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
And He has set the world upon them.
9 He will guard the feet of His saints,
But the wicked shall be silent in darkness. “For by strength no man shall prevail.
10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces;
From heaven He will thunder against them.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth.
“He will give strength to His king,
And exalt the horn of His anointed.”
5 Keys We Can Learn From The Life and Prayer of Hannah
I highly recommend reading through the whole story have Hannah in 1 Samuel 1-2. If your on the time crunch than I encourage you to at least read the two prayers that I have posted above.
This will help with the 5 powerful keys below. Otherwise you might get a little lost. Some of these keys will reveal to some key elements of why Hannah’s prayer was answered, others will highlight other spiritual truths.
1. Hannah’s Prayer Of Desperation Moved God’s Heart
Hannah reached her wits end. Years have passed and still no child and constantly being harassed by her limitation and failures.
It would get so bad she wouldn’t eat, and she would just cry. Even the encouragement from her husband fell on deaf ears.
She was broken.
Finally Hannah took that brokenness and brought it to God.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise. Psalm 51:17 NKJV
God is a God of compassion and love. And when we pray in such a way that shows Him our desperation, brokenness, and need…He is moved!
We see this even in the New Testament when Jesus was moved by compassion. (Matthew 9:36, Luke 7:13-15)
This is why you can’t just read a prayer from a prayer book or even the Bible and think that is going to move God. The Pharisees did that and didn’t impress Jesus.
When we go to pray we want it to come from a sincere place in our heart, just like Hannah (1 Samuel 1:13). Even if we are praying prayers from the Bible. It has to come out of an authentic place.
2. Hannah Didn’t Harbor Offense
Hannah could have easily been offended TWICE. (Check out more on offense here: How to Dismantle A Spirit of Offense)
But Hannah was able to kick offense to the curb! And I believe that played a huge roll in her prayer being answered.
Not Offended by God
The first offense Hannah could have had is against God. It says the Lord closed Hannah’s womb.
At face value that can seem very cruel, but that’s NOT God’s nature. He lives outside of time and knew Hannah. He also knew Samuel would be her son and had a set time for him to be born.
Remember our clock and pace is not God’s clock and pace.
God closing up Hannah’s womb didn’t stop her from seeking Him. She went to Him in desperation and asked Him to help her.
She could have easily become angry with the Lord. And as the Lord shut her womb she could of shut Him out.
This happens all the time in people’s lives. Some kind of disappointment happens and we automatically pull away from God.
But not Hannah…she did the opposite. She ran right to Him.
Not Offended By Eli
If you have been a Christian long enough you may have dealt with some kind of hurt that led to offense towards leaders in the church. I certainly have and had to learn to walk in forgiveness and love.
Eli was the high priest at the time. And when he saw Hannah praying he thought she was drunk.
To top it off he flat out confronted her on it! Now imagine if that happened in our day in age. Some well known pastor or christian leader confronted you on something you were innocent of.
Majority of people would get mad, offended and than go on social media let the world know how wrong so and so was.
But not Hannah.
15 But Hannah answered and said, “No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not consider your maidservant a wicked woman, for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief I have spoken until now.” 17 Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.”
She responded to him respectively, and with kindness spoke truth about herself and the situation.
WOW! That takes such strength and wisdom. And in doing that Eli blessed with peace and an answer from God. Eli even blesses her a second time when she returns with Samuel. None of that would have happened if she had become offended at Eli.
What we can learn is this. Because Hannah did not embrace offense she was able to receive God’s blessing and man’s favor.
3. Hannah Laid Down The Burden At The Altar
Before Prayer: Hannah was in despair she didn’t eat and she cried
During Prayer: Hannah prayed from her heart
After Prayer: Hannah ate and was no longer sad
Talk about taking a 180! I believe Hannah experienced what Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30.
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Now, there are times in pray when we are supposed to press in and continually bring our request before God. (Luke 11:5-12)
But there are times when we have to lay our burden before the Lord in prayer and as we do that we will actually feel it life off of us. If we don’t that burden will wear us down.
Hannah is a prime example of how we should pray and let the burden lift off of us. And when it does it should bring a physical and spiritual change.
4. Hannah Sacrificed Her Desires
When Hannah cried out to the Lord she vowed to give her child back to the Lord.
The very thing she was desperate for she was willing to give it to the Lord. Once again, I am in awe of this woman.
She had such a great desire to have children, but she desired more to please the Lord. She made sure to keep God as God and not let her desire to be a mom become an idol.
Than to top it off when the time came to bring Samuel to Eli….she brings additional sacrifices and offerings.
Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bulls, one ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord in Shiloh. And the child was young. 25 Then they slaughtered a bull, and brought the child to Eli. 26 And she said, “O my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to the Lord. – 1 Samuel 1:24-26
And at the start of 1 Samuel 2 you read this beautiful prayer of rejoicing! This is a woman who is THANKFUL.
And the Lord blessed her for all this. God took her vow, her seed and multiplied it for Hannah. Giving her three more sons, and two daughters.
And Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, “The Lord give you descendants from this woman for the loan that was given to the Lord.” Then they would go to their own home.
21 And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile the child Samuel grew before the Lord. – 1 Samuel 2:20-21
5. Hannah Carried The Prophetic Gift
Hannah’s second prayer is not just a prayer of praise, but it’s prophetic and powerful. If you were to just sit and study through all it’s verses of the prayer you would see so many things she prophesied are cross-referenced in the New Testament.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth. “He will give strength to His king, And exalt the horn of His anointed.” – 1 Samuel 2:10
Samuel was to be the last and greatest Judge of Israel. He would be the one to anoint the first king of Israel. So, who is this king she is talking about??
Well, it’s all about JESUS! The word “anointed” is the same word used for the Messiah.
How beautiful is that! Hannah went from desperate prayer and a vow to a prayer of rejoicing, gladness, and declaration of the coming Christ!
God can take any circumstance and turn it around for our good and blessing. Hallelujah!
Hannah has always been an inspiration for me. A mighty woman of prayer, sacrifice, and dedication!
And I hope these lessons from Hannah in the Bible has blessed you. Please, feel free to drop me a comment below and share with me what God is saying and doing in your life! He’s doing great things in you!
And for more on prayer check out my posts below!
Melissa is a passionate minister, speaker and an ongoing learner of the Bible. She has been involved in church and vocational ministry for over 18 years. And is the founder of Think About Such Things. She has the heart to equip the saints by helping them get into the Word of God and fall more in love with Jesus. She also enjoys family, cooking, and reading.
She has spoken in churches in California, Oregon, Texas, and Mexico and has been featured in Guidepost Magazine and All Recipes Magazine. Read More…