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1 Samuel 1:9-20
“Hannah got up after they ate and drank at Shiloh. Eli the priest was
sitting on a chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s tabernacle.  Deeply
hurt, Hannah prayed to the Lord and wept with many tears.  Making a
vow, she pleaded, ‘Lord of Hosts, if You will take notice of Your servant’s
affliction, remember and not forget me, and give Your servant a son, I
will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and his hair will never
be cut.’  While she was praying in the Lord’s presence, Eli watched
her lips.  Hannah was speaking to herself, and although her lips were
moving, her voice could not be heard. Eli thought she was drunk  and
scolded her, ‘How long are you going to be drunk? Get rid of your wine!’
 ‘No, my lord,’ Hannah replied. ‘I am a woman with a broken heart.
I haven’t had any wine or beer; I’ve been pouring out my heart before the
Lord.  Don’t think of me as a wicked woman; I’ve been praying from
the depth of my anguish and resentment.’  Eli responded, ‘Go in peace,
and may the God of Israel grant the petition you’ve requested from Him.’
 ‘May your servant find favor with you,’ she replied. Then Hannah went
on her way; she ate and no longer appeared downcast.  The next morning
Elkanah and Hannah got up early to bow and to worship the Lord. Afterwards,
they returned home to Ramah. Then Elkanah was intimate with his wife Hannah,
and the Lord remembered her.  After some time, Hannah conceived and
gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, because [she said], ‘I requested
him from the Lord.’ (HCSB)
The Bible says, "And she, greatly distressed, prayed to the Lord and
wept bitterly." 1 Samuel 1:10 NASB She was greatly distressed—she wept
bitterly. This is a woman with a heavy heart. One reason for the
pain was that her husband's other wife teased her, without mercy, because
Hannah was barren. Barren—a harsh word for a harsh reality in her culture.
In many ways her worth, her justification for existence hinged upon her
having children, or at least she thought.
She was persistent in her prayer. 1 Samuel 1:12 says, "she continued
praying before the Lord," and in verse 15 she says, "I am a woman oppressed
in spirit." The word "oppressed" has a stubborn, determined connotation
to it. She was driven by a strong desire—she was determined as she prayed.
She wasn't a searching soul; she rushed the throne of grace, making her
request. She came ready to state her case before God and state it she did—not
in an arrogant, demanding sort of way, but with a humble, needy attitude.
When she poured out her soul to God, Hannah made a vow to the Lord,
"'O Lord of hosts, if Thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of Thy maidservant
and remember me, and not forget Thy maidservant, but wilt give Thy maidservant
a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and a
razor shall never come on his head.'"(1 Samuel 1:11 NASB) She isn’t
simply bargaining with God in this verse; she promises to give her son
back to God. She wasn't manipulating God, bargaining with Him to get what
she wanted. She wasn't praying her will, she was praying His will evidenced
by the fact that she wasn't praying for a son to have, but a son to give.
A son that would be a champion for God and would walk in His will. A son
fully and wholly dedicated to God from the womb to the grave. And God gave
her what she requested. "And it came about in due time, after Hannah had
conceived, that she gave birth to a son; and she named him Samuel, saying,
'Because I have asked him of the Lord.'" (1 Samuel 1:10 NASB) And
she returned him to the service of the Lord.
It is in that spirit that several of our families dedicate one or more
of their children to the Lord’s service. As they do, we will
join them in their commitment in prayer.