14 March 2021

What happens when a mother prays? – 1 Samuel 1:1-28

Peninnah – The Bully

(v6) And Hannah’s rival (Peninnah) used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb.

(Genesis 2:24) “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

Question 1: Where did it all go wrong in this family?

Question 2: What is bullying?

Question 3: Where does it occur?

Question 4: Why is it so common?

Question 5: How could God have helped Peninnah bring good out of this situation?

Question 6: What can Hannah do?

Elkanah – The Insensitive

(v8) “And Elkanah, her husband, said to her, ‘Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?’”

Question 7: Why is this the worst thing to say in the circumstances?

Question 8: What does it reveal?

(v23) “‘Do what seems best to you’”

Question 9: What is Elkanah’s fundamental spiritual flaw?

HANNAH – The Sufferer

(v15) “‘I have drunk neither wine not strong drink but have been pouring out my soul to the Lord…”

(v11) “‘And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.’”

Question 10: Is Hannah really right to do this sort of deal with God?

Question 11: Can we strike deals with God?

  • She stands up to Eli (v15)
  • She names the child Samuel herself (v20)
  • She chooses not to go to the temple while the child is young (v22)
  • She decides when the child is old enough to go (v24)
  • She presents the offering herself (v24)
  • She presents herself with new dignity before Eli (v26)
  • Most painful of all, she leaves the child there, and walks away (v28)

Question 12  : How can the transformation of Hannah inspire us to seek a transformation of ourselves and our relationships and circumstances?

A Prayer

Loving Heavenly Father, please save me from being a bully and abusing my power over others.  Save me from insensitivity and spiritual complacency.  Grant me the expectant faith of Hannah, who poured her heart out to you.  Give me the spiritual transformation I seek. Help me to pay the cost of fulfilling my vow to you, and see both my experiences of suffering and loss, and my grateful response to your gracious kindness bring glory to your Name. Help me to live within the words of v17: “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him,” in the power of the Holy Spirit and for the sake of your Son my Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.