Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 KJV)
Two of the most poignant prayers in the Bible were prayed by Hannah. Hannah lived in the day when the judges ruled in Israel, a time when everyone did as they saw fit. The nation had fallen away from God and was in need of righteous leadership. Little did Hannah know she would play a role in helping to restore the nation of Israel.
Despite the nation’s backsliding, Hannah and her husband Elkanah remained true to God. Elkanah loved Hannah, but they had no children. In those days, a childless woman was considered a failure and a social disgrace. Adding to Hannah’s pain, Elkanah had another wife, Peninnah, who had children. Every year Elkanah took the family – both wives and children – to Shiloh to worship God and offer sacrifices. Peninnah treated Hannah cruelly, taunting her and mocking her barrenness. Year after year, Peninnah provoked Hannah until she cried and would not eat. Once, after a sacrificial meal, Hannah went to the Tabernacle to pray. In deep distress, she prayed fervently for a son. Her desperate prayer led to a vow that if God gave her a son, she would give the child back to Him for all the days of his life. God honored Hannah’s prayer, and she conceived and had a son whom she named Samuel. Hannah was faithful and kept her promise to God. When Samuel was weaned, she took him to Shiloh where he would live and serve in the Tabernacle for life. After releasing Samuel into the care of Eli, the priest, Hannah lifted her voice to heaven and offered a prayer of thanksgiving and praise, exalting God’s sovereignty and thanking Him for the gift of her son. Every year she made Samuel a coat and brought it to him when she came for the annual sacrifice. God looked favorably on Hannah and blessed her with three more sons and two daughters.
What a price Hannah paid. How was she able to give up her son and offer a prayer of thanksgiving? God’s grace and strength were given to Hannah, enabling her to release Samuel with joy. Her suffering was not in vain, for God used it for His glory. God raised up Samuel to bring the nation back to righteousness. Hannah’s faithfulness in keeping her vow helped fulfill God’s purpose and blessed the nation of Israel. She gave the nation a priest, prophet and judge who crowned King David, whose royal bloodline bore the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh. (Romans 1:3 KJV)
There is much to learn from Hannah, whose name means grace, or unmerited favor. Grace is the power God gives you to carry out His will and sustain you during difficult times. Grace enables you to do that which you cannot do on your own. Hannah’s life is a testimony of God’s grace and sovereignty and how He turns hopelessness into triumph. Her heartfelt prayer for a son sets an example of coming boldly before the throne of God, where there is grace, and expressing your needs honestly. Hannah’s prayer of thanksgiving encourages a thankful heart and demonstrates God’s enabling grace and strength, freely given by Him to help you in time of need.
Father, thank you for the touching story of Hannah and its many truths. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.