Hannah's Prayer

Scripture: 1 Samuel 1, 2:1-11

Topics: Futility, Suffering

Study Guide

In the first chapter of 1 Samuel, we are faced with the story of Hannah’s confident trust in God and her courageous obedience. Where there is futility in her life, there should have been fruit; where there is strife there should have been unity; and where there is judgment there should have been support. However, in the midst of her suffering, Hannah displays confidence where there could have been bitterness and shows courageous obedience where there could have been self-protective selfishness.
Application
  1. In this passage, we see that there is futility where there should have been fruit for Hannah. Her brokenness is found in infertility, but for us, it could be through unemployment, a child’s rebellion, a betrayal in a relationship, or other trials of futility. Where have you seen emptiness in your life where there should have been fruit? How did/does this affect your relationship with God?

  2. Instead of becoming embittered by the people who fail her and trying to find comfort from other people, Hannah confidently trusts in God and is comforted by his sovereignty. In what circumstance are you tempted to be bitter towards someone who has failed you? How can you move towards freedom from bitterness?

  3. Hannah shows courageous obedience where there could have been self-protective selfishness. Instead of white-knuckling the good gift of a son, she gives him back to God. Where do you need to be courageously obedient? What or who in your life are you keeping a tight grip on instead of trusting God with it or him/her?

  4. What do you worry about the most? How might that reveal that you are trusting in your own strength? Instead of turning to self-pity, think through how God is at work in your life—where do you see his hand working?

Key Points
  • Through Hannah’s fertility, we see that there can be futility where there should be fruit.

  • In both Elkanah and Hannah’s marriage and in Penninah and Hannah’s relationship, we see strife where there should be unity.

  • While Hannah is suffering, Elkanah and Eli are judgmental of her grief, showing there can be judgment where there should be support.

  • In the midst of Hannah’s suffering, she chooses to display confidence where there could have been bitterness and courageous obedience where there could have been self-protective selfishness.

  • If you have experienced the desire to be bitter instead of displaying confident trust in God’s sovereignty, you may have been looking to people to comfort you rather than the true Comforter. Choosing to believe that God is in control frees Hannah from being embittered to those who fail her.

  • There is a huge benefit to believing God is sovereign in the midst of overwhelming pain and suffering—it means there is hope in what feels like the most desolate place.

  • When people turn to self-pity and are not anchored in a hope outside of themselves, they can destroy even the good things God has given them.

  • We have to choose to believe that all things that come to us are not beyond the scope of what God is doing—he is in charge of all of it.

  • Every good gift that God gives us we should willingly give back to him. At some point, everything goes back to him.

  • Do not put your hope in your ability to execute on the plans you have for your life; but trust God’s Word when it says that all the earth is the Lord’s.

  • We can know that God will do what he says he’s going to do because every promise is fulfilled in Jesus.