Background Story: In this story we meet a woman named Hannah, the second wife of a man named Ramathaim. Her bio makes her unlikely person to end up with a significant story in the Bible.
Read 1 Samuel 1:1-20
There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 2 He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.
3 Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the Lord Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the Lord. 4 Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb. 6 Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. 7 This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. 8 Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”
9 Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s house. 10 In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. 11 And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”
12 As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14 and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”
15 “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouringout my soul to the Lord. 16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
17 Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
18 She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.
19 Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. 20 So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.”
Big Idea: God hears the desires of our hearts.
Do you ever wonder if your worries or prayers are important enough to mention to God? I remember when I was in High School, I had given my life to God and knew God was asking me to walk away from some friendships. I felt super alone and wondered if praying for a Christian friend was too small an ask for the God of heaven. Hannah was a woman of little standing…the second wife of a man that we know nothing about. Her heart’s desire was simply to have a baby.
Hannah went to the temple to bring her heart’s desire to God and it says, “In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly” and “was pouring out my soul to the Lord.” She says to the priest Eli, “I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
Sometimes our prayers are so small in the scope of eternity yet so deeply personal to us. But what’s incredible about God is He rules the universe with His mighty hand, yet cares about every detail in your life. In Isaiah 65:24, God says, “Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.” Before they call…what a powerful statement. It says in verse 18 that once Hannah had finished pouring out her heart’s desire to God, that, “her face was no longer downcast.” What had changed? Her arms weren’t holding a baby yet. I believe it is because she knew she was heard by God.
You are so very loved and precious to God! God heard Hannah’s prayer for a baby and my prayer for a Christian friend. As you pour out your heart to Him, just like Hannah, peace and contentment will come knowing God hears you. So bring Him your deepest unspoken fears and hopes today trusting that He loves you more than we can ever comprehend!