Lessons learned from Hannah
By Pastor Shana Wise
Hannah’s act of intercession was praying for her unborn child and dedicating him to God.
1 Samuel 1:1-28
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.
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?”
1. How many “Peninnah’s” do we know? Or have we ever acted like Peninnah?
2. Hannah was loved by her husband, but his love was not good enough because she a had desire deep down inside that He could not help with or provide (Hannah was tormented by Peninnah, she was infertile, she was depressed when she went to the house of the Lord). Maybe you or someone you know has had the same struggles as Hannah. Share your testimony.
3. Hannah story shows us that we can have a wonderful husband, live a good lifestyle, and even worship God, but still go through periods of pain and suffering (or not be happy). Just imagine how many people are silently struggling in and out of church. How did you overcome your personal battles? If you are going through now, what are you believing God for?
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 pouring out 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.
1. Have you ever got so down in your life that you couldn’t talk to nobody about it? Or when you tried to pray you couldn’t find the words to say? What about pleading to the Lord from a distraught place in your life? How did you overcome or what are you believing God for? When Hannah received a word from the priest Eli, her whole countenance changed. Before, she would not eat after she left the temple, but that day she ate and she was no longer depressed. What word has changed your life? And/or what word are you believing God for to come to pass in your life?
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.”
21 When her husband Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the Lord and to fulfill his vow, 22 Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, “After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the Lord, and he will live there always.”
23 “Do what seems best to you,” her husband Elkanah told her. “Stay here until you have weaned him; only may the Lord make good his word.” So the woman stayed at home and nursed her son until she had weaned him.
24 After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. 25 When the bull had been sacrificed, they brought the boy to Eli, 26 and she said to him, “Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. 27 I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. 28 So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.
1. Hannah made a vow to God and fulfilled it by dedicating her son Samuel to him. What vows have you made to God if any? Have you fulfilled them? If so, what did God do in response?
2. Hannah’s vow to God was a sacrifice. She gave her son, Samuel, to God (by having him serve in the temple) after she had weened him. Samuel was a prophet of God and he was a crucial part of Israel’s history. What sacrifices have you made to God? What was the outcome of the sacrifice?
Exert from book Acts of Intercession by Pastor Shana Wise
Prayer changes things
Hannah’s prayer was birthed out of years of infertility and torment from her husband’s other wife, Peninnah. Hannah was bullied because she was infertile. Peninnah (who had children) would use Hannah’s infertility to harass and taunt her.
Every year the whole family would worship God at the temple, according to their custom. This particular year Hannah prayed to God–through her misery and pain, for a child. She stated that if He blessed her with a child she would dedicate him back to God.
Bullying has been around since biblical days. Peninnah bullied Hannah’s because she was jealous or her. She thought her husband loved Hannah more. Peninnah was able to give him children but his affection went toward Hannah. Peninnah used Hannah’s weakness against her. She saw that it really bothered Hannah that she could not have children, and she played on it to the point Hannah became depressed and bitter.
To overcome bullies, we need to bring the problem to God through prayer and action. Bullying can be physical and emotional, many times leaving people scarred for life. There is a phrase that states, “hurt people hurt other people.” That was the case between Peninnah and Hannah. Peninnah wanted her husband’s love and affection, (which Hannah got) but Hannah wanted a child, (which Peninnah got).
Bullies are usually not born to be bullies, but the spirit comes through something they are lacking within themselves. They pick on the weakness of others to make themselves feel superficially better or superior. Hannah was in deep anguish and she was weeping bitterly when she prayed. Years of bullying had brought her to this place in her life.
She cried out to God from a place of deep hurt and God heard her prayer. We may or may not have experienced bullying, but we may have deep hurts in our lives. Hannah had to push past her pain and make her request to God about her issue of infertility. She did not go to him complaining about Peninnah. She went to him requesting deliverance from her barrenness. She prayed about her own weakness, not for deliverance from her adversary.
God did answer her prayer and she gave birth to a son named Samuel. Within Hannah’s prayer request, she stated that if the Lord blessed her with a son, that she would dedicate him back to God. Samuel had a special calling on his life. He was a prophet of God who had to anoint the first two kings of Israel. Hannah did not know how God was going to use Samuel during this period in the history of Israel, but God knew his destiny.
It is so important for mothers to pray for their children. Our simple prayers are connected to getting them where they need to be and helping them to fulfill their God-given purpose. Hannah stated that she would dedicate him to God and she did just what she promised.
We should all dedicate our children to God if we believe in Him and His word. God chooses us to be parents. We must always remember that our children belong to Him first before He gave them to us. We belong to God and we must live a dedicated life to Him.
About the Author
Dr. Shana Wise is an ordained Pastor and CEO of Wise Choice Ministries (est. 2016). She is the founder of The Well Christian Women’s Network formally known as Christian Women Preachers United. Dr. Wise is the author of women’s devotional, Acts of Intercession, and The Impact of Your Election (available on Amazon). She received a doctor of divinity degree in 2019 from St. Thomas Christian University. Her passion is to teach and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, equip others to apply the Word to their lives, and demonstrate the Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. She is a televangelist that appears on social media outlets and television. Shana is married to Ron Wise and is the mother of four children.