A Mother’s Prayer

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No doubt you are familiar with the story of Hannah in the Old Testament. You can read about her in 1 Samuel 1. To summarize the story, Hannah was married to Elkanah, who loved her. But he had a second wife, Peninnah, who despised her. While we perhaps don’t know all the reasons for the conflict between the two, one issue kept coming up: Peninnah had children, and Hannah did not. Peninnah would throw that at Hannah at every opportunity, and it seems especially when they went to the tabernacle to present the yearly sacrifices. Let’s look at a Mother’s Prayer in this blog post.

Elkanah was aware of the problem, but he demonstrated that he really didn’t understand Hannah’s sorrow, nor did he take into account the prevailing thought that being barren meant being cursed by God. We read in 1 Samuel 1:8, “‘Why are you crying, Hannah?’ Elkanah would ask. ‘Why aren’t you eating? Why be downhearted just because you have no children? You have me—isn’t that better than having ten sons?’” Yep. Pretty sure that didn’t help.

So one day we find Hannah in the tabernacle, crying out her heart to God. Oh, if only she could have a son!  If only God would take away the curse and open her womb. Verse 11: “And she made this vow: ‘O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime,’…”

Then, to make matters worse, the priest, Eli, saw her weeping in deep anguish and assumed she was drunk. When he confronts her, Hannah explains what’s really happening, “‘Oh no, sir!’ she replied, ‘I haven’t been drinking wine or anything stronger. But I am very discouraged, and was pouring out my heart to the Lord.’”

Once Eli understood the real situation, he told her, “In that case,… go in peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.”

And sure enough, not long after Hannah returned home, she became pregnant, and soon gave birth to a son whom she named Samuel, “For she said, ‘I asked the Lord for him.’”

And true to her vow, once Samuel was weaned, perhaps as early as three years of age, Hannah took him with her to the Tabernacle and turned him over to Eli.

“When the child was weaned, Hannah took him to the Tabernacle in Shiloh. They brought along a three-year-old bull for the sacrifice and a basket of flour and some wine. After sacrificing the bull, they brought the boy to Eli. ‘Sir, do you remember me?’ Hannah asked. ‘I am the very woman who stood here several years ago praying to the Lord. I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request. Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life.’ And they worshiped the Lord there.” (1 Samuel 1:24-28). 

Wrap up on a Mother’s Prayer

As we celebrate Mother’s Day this year, keep in mind Hannah’s prayer and her vow. I wonder if you are willing to entrust your children into God’s care, as Hannah did, knowing that He will care for them? Keep in mind that “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him” (Psalm 127:3).

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