Hannah is one of the moms in the Bible that I admire immensely because even though she could easily have let sorrow push her away from God, she chose to let pain bring her closer to Him instead.
When faced with difficulties in life, my first reaction is often to turn away from God and into myself. I fall into depression, anger, or any number of other unholy responses when my desires are unfulfilled, people are unkind, and life just feels downright unfair.
Hannah plunged nearer to the heart and mercy of God by pouring out her soul to Him in prayer. That’s the kind of woman I want to be too!
The story of Hannah in the Bible is a powerful testimony of God’s power to answer prayer, as well as an example for us moms of how to approach God with our hearts deepest desires and how to respond when God answers those desires.
So let’s go a little deeper into the story of Hannah in the Bible to see how we can become more like this godly mother in our own journeys as moms and women of God.
Characteristics of Hannah
Have you ever been praying when you suddenly realized that your mind was completely somewhere else? Your lips were saying the words, but your heart was distracted.
Prayer can easily become a rote part of our lives as Christians. We pray before meals and with our kids before bed, but they’re often the same generic words that we’ve gotten into the habit of saying. There’s no power behind our prayers.
Hannah prayed in a deeper way than many of us allow ourselves to get. She spoke to God honestly, from the deepest longings of her heart.
God can always handle our honesty. He’s God! There’s nothing we can say that would surprise or shock him or cause him to turn away from us.
When our hearts are breaking, that’s when God most longs for us to run to him with all our questions and pain. And that’s exactly what Hannah did!
“She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly.” ~ 1 Samuel 1:10, ESV
Hannah trusted that God had heard her prayer and was content with whatever His answer would be. She didn’t wait to be happy until her prayer was answered. She poured out her heart to the Lord and then trusted that He had heard.
Hannah chose joyful trust rather than wallowing in misery until she got what she wanted. That’s what we should choose too!
“Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.” ~ 1 Samuel 1:18, ESV
Hannah kept her promise to God.
When Hannah vowed that she would give her son to serve the Lord in his temple, she probably had a hard time believing she’d ever be called upon to keep that promise. Yet when God answered her prayer, she was and she did.
I can’t imagine giving my very young child to someone else to raise and train in another city while only seeing them once a year! And yet that is what Hannah did, because that is what she told God she would do.
I want my life to be characterized by that kind of faithfulness too!
“For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.” ~ 1 Samuel 1:27-28, ESV
Historical Context for Hannah’s Story
In the days of Israel when Hannah’s story took place, it was culturally acceptable to have more than one wife. The story of Jacob and his two wives, Rachel and Leah, shows that this was something that wasn’t unusual.
However we know that wasn’t God’s perfect plan for marriage, and there are always problems when people go against God’s plan! In Hannah’s case, her rival wife Peninah was cruel to her because Hannah couldn’t have children.
In Hebrew culture, a woman’s primary job was to bear and raise children and care for the house.
So Hannah had a huge part of her expectation as a woman stripped away.
Hannah also longed to be a mother, which made the cultural stigma of barrenness even harder for her to endure.
Hannah’s Story from the Bible
The story of Hannah in the Bible is found in 1 Samuel, chapters 1 and 2.
The Bible tells us that Hannah and her family would go every year to worship and sacrifice to the Lord at Shiloh, a nearby city. One year during their annual visit to worship, Hannah began to pray to God in the temple, entreating him to give her a child.
As she prayed, she vowed that if the Lord gave her a son, she would dedicate him to serve God in the temple. Her prayer was so heartfelt and earnest that her lips were moving without words.
Eli was a the priest of the temple at Shiloh. When he saw Hannah praying, he assumed that she was drunk and rebuked her.
When Hannah explained that she was praying and not drunk, Eli blessed her, entreating God to answer her prayer as well. And he did!
That year God gave Hannah a son whom she named Samuel. When he was weaned (probably around 3 years old in Hebrew culture) she kept her vow by bringing Samuel to the temple to be raised to serve the Lord.
The Bible goes on to tell us that Hannah would visit Samuel every year and make him a new coat. We also learn that the Lord healed Hannah’s infertility and gave her five more children with her husband.
Lessons for Moms from Hannah in the Bible
#1. God wants us to come to Him in prayer for our hearts desires.
Hannah’s most highlighted strength is prayer. She believed in God’s sovereignty to hear and answer her cries. She also had faith that God would answer her prayer in the way He determined to be best, and kept the vow that she made in her prayer.
When God places a desire in our hearts, it’s there because He has a plan for us. Often that plan isn’t anything like what we want it to be, but it’s always what’s ultimately best. Pray fervently, honestly and often!
“Pray without ceasing.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:17, ESV
#2. God delights in giving us even more than what we ask for.
Hannah asked God for one son. God gave her not only the one son, but five other children as well. What a beautiful example of the extravagant love our Heavenly Father delights in pouring out on His children!
And, Hannah’s son, Samuel, went on to become an amazing prophet, priest, and leader in Israel. Never underestimate how God will reward the influence of a godly mom.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” ~ Ephesians 3:20-21, ESV
#3. Keep all promises you make to God.
It certainly wasn’t easy for Hannah to give up being involved in most of her son’s childhood. Yet she didn’t get angry with God for having such a condition put upon her time with young Samuel. Instead, she praised him! And she joyfully kept her promise just as we should.
“When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.” ~ Ecclesiastes 5:4-5, ESV
Challenge For Moms from Hannah of the Bible
Moms, the story of Hannah in the Bible is there to teach us and challenge us.
Is there a desire in your heart that remains unfulfilled? Don’t just ignore it or give it up for lost!
Pray to God as Hannah did, with an honest and tender heart, pouring out your hopes, fears, plans and desires before him. Then you can move on in confident trust that God has heard your prayer and will answer in His timing.
Maybe you’ll receive a miracle like Hannah! Or maybe God’s answer to you won’t be exactly what you wished. You might find yourself broken before him in prayer time and time and time again. Remain faithful to your promises, as God will remain faithful to His.
“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” ~ Psalm 37: 3-4, ESV
This isn’t an easy promise that you’ll get whatever you want! Rather, it is a promise that the desires God places within you will be fulfilled in the way and for the purpose that He intends.
Lord, may we your daughters come before you in heartfelt prayer as Hannah did. May we trust your sovereign plan to answer them, even if the answer isn’t what we wish it to be. And may we be faithful to love and serve you all the days of our lives. Amen.
Other posts in this series:
Hi, I’m Lieren! I’m a Jesus-loving girl living my childhood dream as wife to my best friend and full time mommy to our three children. I have a passion for helping women delight in the days they have with their little ones! I blog at Motherhood Beyond Survival, where I share practical advice offer encouragement and create a community to help you move beyond surviving motherhood to truly thriving in it. I’m not an expert; I’m a mother on the journey with you! My favorite things include getting lost in a good book, singing in the car, spontaneous adventures, and anything chocolate. Let’s connect, follow me on Facebook.