What life lessons can we learn from Hannah in the Bible?
Here you will find a discouraged, barren woman. Not the typical place you’d look for inspiration and encouragement.
But in the midst of these two brief chapters, there are nuggets of important life lessons to be learned so we can use them in our own lives. Hannah teaches us that where there is God, there is always hope and He always keeps His promises!
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Who Was Hannah in the Bible
The story of Hannah can be found in chapters 1 and 2 of 1 Samuel.
Hannah was one of the two wives of Elkanah. The Bible doesn’t expound a lot about Hannah except that the other wife had children and Hannah had none.
In a world where bearing children for your husband created value and importance, Hannah had none.
The Hebrew meaning of the name Hannah is “grace” or “favor” but in this story, it seems to hold an empty promise. In reading through the passages, you will find that Peneninah, the other wife with children, poked fun and provoked Hannah about her barrenness.
The Bible doesn’t tell us how many years Hannah prayed for a son but after years and years of hoping, praying, and hoping some more, this is where we find Hannah weeping at the temple. She implores God to give her a son and promises to give him back to God.
Eli, the priest, accuses her of being drunk, but as she wipes her eyes she tells him that she is in deep anguish and pouring out her heart to God. Eli then gives a blessing and prays that her request will be answered.
The next morning, she worshipped God and went back to their home. It soon became apparent that her womb had been opened and she gave birth to a son whom she named Samuel.
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Lessons From Hannah in the Bible
The story of Hannah could stop there but there is so much more to her story even though it only lasts another chapter. Her impact on the future of Israel was immeasurable because she had kept her promise to give her promised child back to God.
As Samuel grew and learned from Priest Eli, he heard God’s voice, learned how to work in the temple, witnessed Eli’s sons and their disobedience to God, and then had to give God’s message to Eli about his sons.
As Eli grew old and feeble, Samuel became the priest and prophet of the nation, God used Samuel to guide and lead his children, choosing the kings, mentoring David, and listening to God all along the way.
After Samuel was born, Hannah could have held tightly to her baby, but she held true to her promise to give her son back to God. Hannahs prayer to God was one of thanks and praise!
As a result, her faithful promise to God changed the future for many generations of leaders in Israel.
So, what can we learn from Hannah's faithfulness to god?
Here are four lessons from Hannah in the Bible.
Hannah Never Stop Praying
Of course, we can’t read between the lines and only have a snapshot in these two chapters, but what the Bible tells us of Hannah is that she was in prayer about her trials.
When Peninnah was provoking her to tears, Hannah went to pray. When her heart was breaking year after year, she continued to pray.
In life, there are a myriad of things that can overwhelm us or seem unfair. We will face trials that seem too big to handle.
But taking our worries, disappointments, and tears to God (in prayer) is the only place where they can be healed and changed.
Hannah didn’t give up praying for a son after 6 months. While the Bible doesn’t tell us exactly how long prayed for a child, it does say that year after year she continued to be barren.
After Samuel was born, she continued to pray and praise God for his blessings. Her beautiful prayer is recorded as she persists in praying to God in the good times and in the bad.
When you have prayed through a difficult time, remember to praise God in the end. Thank Him for the answers to prayers that He is provided every single day. Keep your relationship strong and focused on God during the difficult and the easy times.
Hannah Didn't Give Up On Her Dream
Hannah didn’t give up her dream of a child after 6 months. While the Bible doesn’t tell us exactly how long she waited to have a child of her own, we can see that she had a plan for her son before she had a baby. She knew exactly what she would do and told God her promise.
It is easy to dream about something for a time and then lose heart when that dream isn’t realized. There are many women who dream of having a child of their own. Women who long for a husband, dream of a successful job, financial security, or just feeling valued and loved.
As you think about Hannah and her singular focus on her dream of having a son, take heart and look at your heart’s desires. What is God asking you to plan ahead for so you are ready to see that dream fulfilled?
Hannah was Faithful
It can be so easy to make a promise – especially when you think it might get you what you want. Hannah made a promise to God. If God would give her a son, she would turn around and give him back to God.
This seems like a huge, unthinkable promise after wanting a child for so many years. To wait for something for so long and then give it back is hard to understand. But Hannah had made a promise to God and she was faithful to keep that promise.
She also faithfully took care of Samuel even after she took him to the temple as she sewed clothes for him and took them to him every year. Her mother’s heart was faithful in love for her son, but also faithful to God.
Hannah Was Not Easily Provoked
When Peninnah continued to pester Hannah and tease her to tears, Hannah didn’t lash out. I’m sure there were times when Hannah felt like giving up, running away, or saying harsh things back to Peninnah.
She could have said something like “you have children, but Elkanah loves me more and gives me a double portion.” Or perhaps she might have criticized Peninnah’s mothering and the actions of her children.
We don’t know a lot about their relationship except for the few verses, but what we see is that when Hannah felt overwhelmed by tears due to Peninnah’s words, she didn’t go tattle to her husband. Instead, Elkanah had to ask her what was wrong.
When life hands you difficult people it can be easy to share negativity about that person everywhere you go. “Do you know what so and so did now? They are so rude!”
Even when Hannah was praying at the temple, she didn’t spill her sorrows with Eli and tell him how difficult her life was and what a horrible person Peninnah was. Instead, she simply said she was praying because of great anguish.
When you are facing a challenging relationship, remember to go to God about it rather than sharing your dirty laundry with everyone. Be careful to not enter into a verbal fight when you can choose to walk away.
Pray Like Hannah!
No matter what your circumstances might be, no matter how hopeless a situation you might be in, you can pray like Hannah! Take your burdens and tears to God and allow Him to heal your brokenness.
Pray persistently and faithfully as you turn your heartaches over to God. Just like Hannah, you may not see results for years, but you can rest knowing that God is faithful and He loves you more than anything!
When you think about these life lessons of Hannah from the Bible, take some time to reflect on your life. What life lessons are you leaving as a heritage to those who live with you? What example are you sharing with others about how you handle trials and difficulties?
Then give your worries, fears, disappointments, tears, and sorrow to God. Ask Him to fill your heart with faithfulness and a song to sing to bless others.
Women played such an important role in biblical history. Read more about them in our Women of the Bible series!