Hannah’s example is worthy of emulation! Here we can learn how to wrestle with God deeply, preparing ourselves for obedience and responding to His grace with praise and outward-looking faith.
She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. And she vowed and 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.”
1 Samuel 1:10-11
And Hannah prayed and said,
“My heart exults in the Lord;
my horn is exalted in the Lord;
my mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in your salvation.”
1 Samuel 2:1
In the first two chapters of 1 Samuel, we are invited on Hannah’s roller-coaster ride of desperate prayer and deep joy. What an incredible thing that the beginning of the stories of Israel’s kings focuses on a woman who wants to have a baby. Many will recognize some type of foreshadowing of the incarnation of our Savior. But on a more basic level, Hannah is simply a great model of the power of prayer.
Hannah’s first prayer is short and desperate—like many of our best prayers—granting us a powerful picture of prayer being a wrestling match with God. She wisely recognizes the Goodness of God by acknowledging His absolute Lordship over all the “hosts” or armies of men and angels. She asks for His attention (“look on the affliction of your servant”), not because God isn’t omniscient, but because His special, gracious attention is a powerful thing. And then she makes her request, “…give to your servant a son.”