Hannah wanted a Son – God wanted a Prophet
by Lillian Penner
Published on February 26, 2024

Hannah wanted a Son – God wanted a Prophet

“Hannah is not the primary character in the story. Nor is Samuel. Pivotal to the whole story, the central cohesive element, the linchpin, is God himself. Everything else—Hannah’s barrenness, Hannah’s prayer, Samuel’s birth—is the working out of God’s eternal agenda.”¹

Hannah longed to give birth to a son. However, in I Samuel 1:5, 6, we read, “the Lord closed Hannah’s womb.” Hannah prayed, asking God to give her a son for several years. Hannah went with her husband to the temple to worship and, feeling hopeless, she prayed and wept.  Eli, the priest, thought she was drunk. Hamah responded with “I am praying out of great anguish and grief”.

God was not answering her prayer, but God had a plan. When she reached the point of desperation, she made this vow: “O Lord Almighty, if you will look down upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime” (I Samuel 1:11).  

After Hannah returned home, her prayer was answered; God opened her womb, she conceived, gave birth to a son, and named him Samuel. Hannah asked for a son, and God gave her a prophet. God answered more abundantly than she asked when her heart and God’s heart became a perfect match.    

In I Samuel 3:1 we read, “in those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions”. God needed a prophet to communicate His heart to the Israelites.

God was working according to His plan. He was not at a loss. We read in I Samuel 2:35, “I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind.” It appears that when Hannah found herself in this hopeless situation, in reality, God was working out His plan. If Hannah’s prayer for a son had been answered immediately, she might not have given him to the Lord as she did. Hannah’s prayer for a child began in the heart of God. Samuel became a mighty warrior on the battlefield and in the prayer closet. God used Samuel in a mighty way.  

This is an excellent lesson to learn in praying for our grandchildren. When challenges come into their lives, and they are not answered according to their or our agenda God may be working out His plan, which is far greater. When praying for your grandchildren, pray God will work His agenda in their lives. 

¹ 2003   The Praying Life, Jennifer Kennedy Dean, Waiting on God. P 98

Lillian Penner is the author of Grandparenting with a Purpose: Effective Ways to Pray for Your Grandchildren in English and Spanish. She is on staff with the Christian Grandparenting Network prayer ministry, developing prayer cards, grandparents@Prayer groups, and the Grandparenting Day of Prayer. She has a passion for praying intentionally for her grandchildren and desires to share that passion with other grandparents. An avid blogger, Lillian breaks into smiles if you ask about her thirteen grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She and her husband, John, live in Portland, Oregon, where they are active in church ministries. She and her husband enjoy traveling, Southern Gospel music but most of all, enjoy spending time with their family.

Photo by Jonathan Borba


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