Hannah Who Poured Out Her Soul: Women in the Bible Week 3

beautiful and brave hannah

Welcome to week 3 in our current series of Women in the Bible: Beautiful and Brave! I’m thrilled to discuss our featured guest today, Hannah, the  mother of Samuel. Front and center in my book, The Sensational Scent of Prayer, Hannah is near and dear to my heart. I spent several months studying Hannah and her drive to prayer. She endured oppression and verbal abuse for years. I wonder if she had prayed many times before her initial recorded prayer or if the first words that tumbled silently from her lips are these we read in I Samuel 1:10&11:

And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.

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 razor come upon his head.

While Eli, the priest, believed Hannah must have been drunk due to her nonverbal and obvious distress, Hannah delivers a statement that clues us in on the depth of her dilemma:

And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD.

Back in August, I wrote about leaving your burdens at the feet of Jesus and the importance of giving every last shred of our emotions, thoughts, and will to the Lord. Hannah was quite the expert in this field and in just a few chapters, her story of blessing beautifully unfolds. From a whispering wisher to a wonderful warrior, Hannah’s commitment to trust God is truly one to admire.

You see, prayer closes wounds and opens wombs.

It promotes healing and prompts restoration.

Prayer shuts down hostility and opens up hospitality.

Scent of Prayer ebook cover

How to order The Sensational Scent of Prayer

I wish I could have witnessed the love story unfold between Hannah and Elkanah! Oh to know the secrets to this beautiful pair. Was she simply beautiful? Was it her sweet spirit? Was her voice charming or her hair glamorous? Those are some of the things we just don’t know, but here is a summary of Hannah’s profile:

  • Name: Hannah
  • Occupation: homemaker
  • Family background: Wife of Elkanah, Mother to Samuel
  • Daily life: pitiful weeper to prayer warrior
  • Emotional baggage: weary, distraught, unfulfilled, victim of bullying
  • Weaknesses: difficulty standing up for herself
  • Beauty secrets: Pouring out her complaints before God, believing his promises
  • Acts of bravery: Changed her attitude before the circumstances changed, gave back to God what he had given to her, and received the promise that his plans are always greater, especially since she prayed for one child, and wound up with a brood of 6!

I can’t wait to meet Hannah one day. I wonder if she might say “Be careful what you pray for!”

new whimsical wed

Bloggers, I’m thrilled to have your 100% Christian encouragement  linkups this Whimsical Wednesday. If you have chosen to participate in the Women in the Bible series and link up your post about Hannah, then I plan to choose and highlight one of your posts here on the blog next week.

The post linked up from last week that I chose to feature is from Victoria at FearlessHeartMinistries.com. Though it is not focused on last week’s Bible character, her beautiful approach to loving someone through depression comes from a healing heart that has suffered. You’ll be encouraged as you read her post!

Rachel

 

All posts from Women in the Bible: Beautiful and Brave series:

Original Post: Women in the bible: 5 of the most beautiful and brave

Introductory Post: Women in the Bible: Beautiful and Brave series

Week 1: Sarah Who Remembered God’s Promise

Week 2: Deborah Who Declared God’s Truth

Week 3: Hannah Who Poured Out Her Soul

 

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Download a FREE Study Guide to accompany The Sensational Scent of Prayer!

 

 



Hannah’s Prayer Path

I Samuel 2:18-21

You may have heard the statement, “You can never outgive God.” But how many of us really believe it? We all know about Hannah desperately begging God for a child and God granting her request. And most of us have read far enough along to know that Hannah made a coat for Samuel every year, which she took to him at the yearly sacrifice time. Imagine the joy of sewing that precious coat. But the story doesn’t end there! Verse 21 gives us more: “Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, The LORD give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the LORD.” What was the blessing? The Lord visited Hannah. What greater blessing could she have than a visit from the Lord! This word “visit” is paquad in the Hebrew, which means to look after or care for. The Lord looked after Hannah and cared for her. He gave her three sons and two daughters! How God loves to bless His children. Hannah is such an incredible example for us. Let’s review:

Hannah’s Prayer Path:

  1. Finding her point of desperation and admitting her spiritual barrenness.
  2. Pouring out bitterness of soul and in return allowing the fullness of God to fill her to overflowing.
  3. Believing in the God of the impossible: whether she was delivered FROM the trial before entering it, delivered OUT OF the middle of the trial, or delivered THROUGH the trial. (Some terminology credit to Beth Moore here. (smile) )
  4. Praising God for salvation, security, sanctification, strength, sustenance, service, superiority, supremacy, settlement, sentinel and sovereignty.

     

And then, she was visited by the Lord.

Many Christians have a true heart’s desire to be visited by Him. But we certainly don’t want to follow the above path to get there. Why, that path has too many rocks and stones that could hurt our feet! And those slippery spots might just make us fall down. Who knows what could come out onto the path and further harm us?

We fail to realize that our focus should not be on the path itself but on the One we are following through the path.

Lord Jesus:

I thank you so much for the opportunity to use my words to point others to You. I pray that You would place in the hearts of those reading this blog an undeniable urge to spend more time in prayer with You after reading this study. Thank you for the opportunity to obey in whatever capacity You lead. May we continue in service until Your kingdom come. Amen.

Waiting… and “Action!”

I Samuel 2:11-18

Wait up! Wait for me. Wait a minute….Wait, wait, wait. We hear the word “wait” and automatically think of a temporary hold. We see a sign that says “waiting room” and immediately picture people sitting in lethargy, yawning extensively.

In our passage today, continuing in the story of Hannah, we arrive at the doorstep of Eli’s wicked sons. Because the focus of this lesson is not on them, suffice it to say that they were very wicked in God’s sight. Seven verses are allocated to describe their wickedness. My belief is that the purpose of this description was for that one little word at the beginning of verse 18, “But.” Contrasted to Eli’s terrible sons was Samuel. Anytime you see the word “but,” then you should immediately think of the exception to the rule. “But Samuel ministered before the Lord.” What does this mean? The word “minister” in this verse means to serve or wait upon. Do you think Samuel was lounging around the tabernacle, watching the sundial and reading National Stoneographic? Absolutely not! He was in service!

Wikipedia identifies the duties of “waiting staff,” as: 1. preparing tables for a meal, 2. taking customers’ orders, 3. serving drinks and food, and 4.cleaning up before, after and during servings in a restaurant. All four words used for the duties are ACTION words. Preparing. Taking orders. Serving. Continually looking for opportunities. Sounds like what Samuel did. And sounds like what we should be doing while we eagerly watch for our Lord, anticipating His arrival with exuberance, though we may feel that we are waiting for something more from Him.

I never just wait. As a mother of six children, one with a rare degenerative disease, there is rarely time to just sit and do nothing. I attempt to stay out of doctors’ office, clinics, testing centers, and hospitals as much as possible. God’s plan for our family requires those environments to be a part of our lives to some degree; however, I decided long ago that whenever we are in a waiting room, it will be a party! We take coloring pages, crayons, books, puzzles, and balloons and every child lights up when our family is just “waiting.” Suddenly mothers are smiling and sick children are laughing. Stressed-out nurses and frowning receptionists are transformed into happy-to-be-in-this-field employees. Waiting can be enjoyable and profitable!

Maybe you are waiting on a medical diagnosis so that you know what the next step is:

Psalm 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Maybe you are waiting on just the right job opportunity:

Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint.

Maybe you are waiting for something so deep that you have not dared to share it with anyone:

Psalm 130:5 I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.

Waiting is an action.

So what are you waiting for?