The story of Hannah is found in the first two chapters of 1 Samuel. Hannah and Peninnah were the two wives of Elkanah. Peninnah had many children but Hannah did not. The Lord had closed her womb for many years. Hannah was devastated and wanted children more than anything. Hannah suffered infertility, shame, humiliation, and provocation by her ‘rival’, Peninnah.
Peninnah was so harsh to Hannah, Hannah would cry inconsolably and not eat. She prayed to the Lord over and over for a child. She promised the Lord that if He were to give her a child, she would dedicate him as a Nazirite who would serve the Lord all his life. Ultimately, the Lord did give Hannah the child she so desperately wanted, and Hannah fulfilled her promise to the Lord.
Read the story of Hannah in 1 Samuel 1 and 1 Samuel 2.
1. Have you ever wanted something so much that it physically hurt? What was it?
2. What did you do to ease that pain you felt?
What can we learn from the story of Hannah?
Hannah prayed earnestly for what she wanted and was specific in her requests to God. Hannah believed in God’s power to fulfil her desires and took her problems straight to the source.
a. Do you always take your problems straight to God? Do you try to handle the problem on your own first or with the help of other people?
b. Is it difficult for you to go to God with your wants, desires, needs, etc.? If so, why?
This is something that many of us struggle with. We want things in our timing, but God does things in His timing. We are often confused, frustrated, and disheartened when His timing takes too long. We must remember that God knows all things and He knows whether and when it is best to give us what we ask for. We must be patient in all things.
a. Do you have a hard time waiting for God to answer your prayers? If so, why?
b. Do you have a hard time accepting God’s answer to your prayers if it is not the answer you wanted to receive? If so, why?
c. What are some things in your life you have had to wait on God’s timing for?
We also learn that commitment and faith are necessary in our relationship with God. Hannah promised that she would give her child over to God if He blessed her with one.
God gave His Son for us. Following through with promises can be painful, but they are necessary. He wants us to be honest, trustworthy, and committed to him. Hannah believed that God would hear her cries and would give her what she wanted. She did not give up her faith.
a. Has anyone ever made a promise to you and then broken it? How did you feel?
b. Have you ever made a promise to someone and then broken it?How did you feel?
c. How do you think Hannah felt having to give her son, Samuel, over to Eli at the temple? How do you think you would feel having to give your child over to someone else?
d. What promises have you made to God? Did you keep them?
e. What promises has God made to us?
3. What else did you learn from the story of Hannah?