Hannah Prays for a Child

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The story of Samuel begins with Hannah feeling sad that she does not have a child. The next time they went to the tabernacle, her husband gave her a double portion to offer to the Lord. There Hannah “poured out her soul,” asking the Lord to give her a son. In return, she would give the boy to the Lord. The Lord answered her prayer, and Hannah named her baby “Samuel” because she asked the Lord for him (see 1 Samuel 1: 1-20).

This and other stories in the Word picture a married couple yearning for a child and their joy when the Lord blessed them in this way. As promised, Hannah took Samuel to the tabernacle when he was a little older. Samuel served the Lord there and became a great judge who helped his people follow the Lord.

Every child is a potential angel with a unique contribution to make here on earth and in heaven. The Lord blesses parents by “loaning” them children to love and nurture. In the process, parents have many opportunities to grow closer together, strengthening their marriage.

The Story

Read (or retell) the story of Hannah and the birth of Samuel (1 Samuel 1).

Key parts of the story 

  • Hannah is sad because she has no children - 1 Samuel 1:1-8
  • Hannah asks the Lord to give her a son - 1 Samuel 1:10-11
  • Eli the priest asks that God grant her petition – 1 Samuel 1:17-18
  • Hannah has a child she names Samuel – 1 Samuel 1:19-20
  • Hannah takes Samuel to Eli to serve the Lord – 1 Samuel 1:24-28

Ideas for discussion

  1. Why was Hannah sad? (She had no children.)
  2. What did Elkanah do because of his love for her? (He tried to comfort her, and he gave her a double portion when it was time to visit the tabernacle and give offerings to God.)
  3. What did Hannah promise to do if the Lord blessed her with a son? (Give him to the Lord all the days of his life.)
  4. How did Hannah honor her promise to give Samuel to the Lord? (When he was old enough to care for himself, she took him to the tabernacle to serve the Lord with Eli, the priest.)
  5. Samuel became the last of the judges the Lord called to help the children of Israel. Later, the Lord told him to anoint Kings Saul and David.
  6. Can you think of other stories in which sons are born to women who longed for a child? (Isaac was born to Abram and Sarai; Jacob and Esau were born to Isaac and Rebekah; Joseph and Benjamin were born to Jacob and Rachel; Samson was born to Manoah and his wife; John the Baptist was born to Zacharias and Elizabeth.)

Further ideas

Here are some other ideas that you may want to consider in connection with this story in the Word:

  • What are some of the blessings that children can bring to a married couple?
  • Nurturing children together can help parents grow—individually and in the marriage—as each brings insights and strengths to the use of parenting. A love of little children is forever conjoined with true marriage love (Conjugial Love 385).
  • Sometimes children come into a family through adoption, the Lord leading a child in need of parents and parents who want a child to become a family.

Read more about the birth of Samuel

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