Prayer is heart’s ease to a gracious soul.
If we seek on the basis of God’s glory (v. 11) we shall be confident that we do not seek in vain.
Prayer soothes the countenance (v. 18).
I Samuel 1
1 Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite:
2 And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
3 And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the LORD, were there.
4 ¶ And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions:
5 But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the LORD had shut up her womb.
6 And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.
7 And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.
8 Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?
9 ¶ So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD.
10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.
11 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.
12 And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth.
13 Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.
14 And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee.
15 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.
16 Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.
17 Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.
18 And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.
19 ¶ And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the LORD remembered her.
20 Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD.
21 And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the LORD the yearly sacrifice, and his vow.
22 But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever.
23 And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only the LORD establish his word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him.
24 ¶ And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the LORD in Shiloh: and the child was young.
25 And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli.
26 And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD.
27 For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him:
28 Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.
I Samuel 1 – J. Vernon McGee
1 Samuel 1:1-11 – Hannah’s Prayer and Vow
Elkanah was evidently a kind husband to Hannah; but marriage had suffered from the general relaxation of morals, and the bitter effects of polygamy are illustrated here. Because Hannah was specially loved, Peninnah hated her.
The grief of the childless wife drove Hannah to God. There she found her only resource. When the heart is nigh to breaking, what else can we do than pour out our complaint before the One who is ever ready to hear our cry? We may trust God with our secrets; He will keep sacred our confidence. Elkanah’s love may go a long way, but we have for the most part to tread the wine-press alone. After we have eaten and drunk before our friends, anointing our head and washing our face, that they may not guess what is happening within, we must have a spot where we can unbend and open the sluice-gates of grief. And what place is so good as the Mercy-Seat? We need not vow our vows to bribe God to help us. The gifts of His love are more blessed for Him to give than for us to receive. But out of love we can vow what we will. —Through the Bible Day by Day
1 Samuel 1:12-28 – The Child Dedicated to God
Here is a delightful specimen of secret fellowship with God, and its results. Many were coming and going in the Tabernacle-court. It was no place for private prayer; and this sad woman had no opportunity for audible petition, so she spake in her heart. We may all do that amid the crowds that sweep gaily past us in their light-hearted way. Let us not grow weary. “She continued praying before the LORD” (1 Samuel 1:12). People may misunderstand and reproach you. The Eli’s that judge superficially may leap to hasty conclusions, but pray on! Pray on, though the prayer seem impossible of answer! Pray on, though heart and flesh fail! Pray on, for God will yet raise the poor from the dust and the beggar from the dunghill! When you have committed your cause to God, go in peace and be no more sad.
“The LORD remembered her” (1 Samuel 1:19). Of course He did. He has graven us on the palms of His hands, and the ruined walls of our peace are ever before Him. The hour will come when, like Hannah, you will stand on the very spot where the prayer was offered, to confess that God has given you the petition that you asked of Him. God cannot fail, and His gifts are sweetest and safest when they are returned to Him by His children. —Through the Bible Day by Day
I Samuel 1:15—I have poured out my soul before the LORD.
Hannah’s soul was full of complaint and grief, which flowed over into her face and made it sorrowful. But when she had poured out her soul before the Lord, emptying out all its bitterness, the peace of God took the place of her soul anguish, she went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad. What a glad exchange! How great the contrast! How much the better for herself, and for her home!
Is your face darkened by the bitterness of your soul? Perhaps the enemy has been vexing you sorely; or there is an unrealized hope, an unfulfilled purpose. In your life; or, perchance, the Lord seems to have forgotten you. Poor sufferer, there is nothing for it but to pour out your soul before the Lord. Empty out its contents in confession and prayer. God knows it all; yet tell Him, as if He knew nothing. “Ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:8). “In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).
As we pour out our bitterness, God pours in his peace. Weeping goes out of one door whilst joy enters at another. We transmit the cup of tears to the Man of Sorrows, and He hands it back to us filled with the blessings of the new covenant. Some day you will come to the spot where you wept and prayed, bringing your offering of praise and thanksgiving.