Her name means “grace, favored.” It comes from a verb meaning “to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior.” Outwardly, Hannah’s life was filled great favor and great disdain, but Hannah believed God would graciously bend down and hear her prayer and respond with kindness.
Her story: 1 Samuel 1:1 – 2:21
Hannah was a beloved wife who could not have children. Her husband’s other wife had sons and daughters and would often taunted and teased Hannah because she was childless. During one of the annual trips to the temple in Shiloh, Hannah went to temple to pray. She simply and quietly expressed her distress to God and humbly asked Him to remember her. She also promised if God would give her a son, she would give him back to serve God as long as he lived. During her prayer, the high priest, Eli, confronted her because he thought she was drunk. She explained what she was doing and Eli sent her home with a blessing that God would grant her what she had asked for. When the family returned home, Hannah became pregnant and Samuel was born. (Samuel means “asked from God”) Hannah took Samuel to back Shiloh when he was weaned. She presented Samuel to Eli and reminded him of her prayer. She “loaned” Samuel to God and prayed another prayer. This time, she praised God even as she made the biggest sacrifice of her life. Then she contrasted the arrogant and proud and how God responds to the strong and the weak. Lastly, she expressed her confidence that God was in control. From that time on, Samuel served with Eli. God gave Hannah three more sons and two daughters.
Her legacy for us: In times of deep distress and pain, God hears the cry of humble hearts and He answers those prayers. When we make promises to God, we must be careful to keep them. Expressing our gratitude and praise for His hand and His plans helps us keep those promises.
Our response to Him: When I am being taunted and feel distressed, how often do I directly run to You? When You answer my desperate prayers, how often do I keep the hard promises I have made to you and do it with a willing, grateful, worshiping heart?