The Simplicity of Prayer – An Example of Prayer Answered
Hannah asked a son – God gave a son
1 Samuel 1:9–11
9 So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD. 10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore. 11 And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no rasor come upon his head.
Hannah is the perfect Old Testament parallel of the New Testament woman in Christ’s account of the unjust judge. She is afflicted beyond measure; she has an adversary with no advocate; and she is disconnected from her world by the affliction of barrenness. Yet in all of this, she is steadfast in the prayerful struggle with God for the knowledge of His will concerning her barrenness before the world and vindication before her adversary. This Old Testament parallel to the New Testament teaching of Christ is almost breathtaking.
Hannah’s barrenness was a humiliating and consuming part of her life, exaggerated in its shame by her relentless adversary, Peninnah. Hannah was overwhelmed by bitterness arising from unanswered prayer under the scrutiny of her adversary. Hannah did not stress over fears, but she was in bitterness from experiencing immediate, real adversity.
She was plagued by a biting agony which was like the biting taste of a strongly repugnant drink which causes the body to recoil, and the substance to be hurled from the mouth of the taster. This bitterness in her soul was the reaction to a circumstance so foul, so repulsive, and so onerous that her soul wanted to expel it as strongly as the human body expels bitterness from the mouth.
Her entire being convulsed and writhed in revulsion of her circumstance.
Hannah, under siege by her dreadful condition and the taunting of her adversary, made a severe vow before God demonstrating the depth of the anguish and her desire to rid herself of barrenness and its accompanying shame.
She vowed the life of her first born to God for His favor.
God, in His allowance of Hannah’s affliction and in His seeming lack of action, prodded, prompted, and prepared Hannah for the required demonstration of His will in her life, the giving of Samuel to the Lord.
As Hannah prayed, she became more aware that the circumstances required great sacrifice on her part. After great personal suffering, knowingly or unknowingly, she yielded to God’s will concerning Samuel and his future. In order to reverse this state of barrenness, she gave her only son to God as a perpetual offering.
God afflicted her so that she would bring forth a decisive leader for Israel. She and sweet Mary, mother of Jesus, must have known many common hours of anguish and anxiousness. Shades of Abraham and Isaac dance around the periphery of this amazing account. God and his Son, Jesus Christ, were the actual fulfillment of such agony.
Hannah, gripped by her imposed condition, made the ultimate sacrifice of a mother; she gave up her only son whom God knew as the next great leader of His people. It was in prayer, fasting, and endurance that this realization became ultimate reality to Hannah.