I am amazed at the prayer of Hannah (the mother of Samuel the Prophet). It seems that every good thing in the Bible (or elsewhere) starts with a woman praying. It is often a woman in a desperate situation, praying a desperate prayer.
Hannah was preceded by Sarah, Rivka, Rachel, Miriam, and all the Jewish mothers in Egypt whose children were slaughtered. God used their situation of barrenness or difficulty with their children to leverage them into deeper prayer intercession.
Hannah was childless; her husband had another wife, Peninah, who did bear children. Peninah made fun of her. Hannah was a godlier woman than Peninah, but she didn’t seem to be “blessed.” She was disappointed, bitter, frustrated, a little angry at God and her husband (I Samuel 1:7).
She was brought to a point of desperation in prayer (which was what God was pushing her toward from the beginning). Hannah didn’t want to eat; all she could do was cry; and pray.
I Samuel 1:10 – She was bitter of soul and prayed unto the Lord and wept, weeping.
From the depths of anguish in prayer, her soul became focused and she made a vow to the Lord. If she would have a child, she would dedicate him to the Lord (verse 11). At that time, there was no judge to rule, no open prophecy, and the priesthood was totally corrupt. The dedication and focused prayer of this one woman changed all of history.
Hannah’s prayer could be compared to Yeshua’s prayer in Gethsemane or to the disciples’ prayers at Pentecost (Shavuot). Eli the priest thought she was drunk (v. 14). But Hannah replied, “No:” – I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord – I Samuel 1:15. Through the depths of that pouring out of her soul, her prayer was answered.
The immediate answer to her prayer was “this boy” – I Samuel 1:27. But this boy was more than an ordinary child. He restored the gift of prophecy to ancient Israel; in fact, he initiated a whole new age of prophecy. He brought the anointing for the kingdom; for King David; and ultimately for the Messiah to come.
The gift of prophecy first came upon Hannah, as recorded in her song of praise in chapter two. (Two whole chapters of the Bible are dedicated to this “breakthrough” woman.) In her song was revealed:
- The resurrection of the dead: YHVH puts to death and brings to life – 2:6.
- Descent into hell and return: He brings down to hell and raises up – 2:6
- Justice for the needy: He raises up the poor from the dust – 2:8
- The authority of the Kingdom: He causes them to inherit the throne of glory – 2:8
- The day of judgment: YHVH will judge the ends of the earth – 2:16
- David’s kingdom: He will give power to His king – 2:16
- Yeshua’s kingdom: He will raise up the horn of His Messiah – 2:16.
That’s not bad for one prayer. This is the first direct prophecy of the coming of the Messiah and His kingdom. In her labor pains of prayer, she gave birth not only to Samuel, but to the revelation of the Messiah’s kingdom. She spiritually gave birth to David and Yeshua, as well as to Samuel.
Her prayer was continued by another woman named Hannah in Luke chapter two. Unfortunately, most translations call this woman Anna instead of Hannah, which causes the reader to miss the Hebraic connection. Hannah’s prayer of Luke 2 is the continuation of Hannah’s prayer in I Samuel 2.
[Note: The name Hannah comes from the root KH-N, ח-נ, meaning “grace,” just as in the name John, which is actually YoKhaNan in Hebrew, as Hannah is KhaNah. John Yokhannan is like Hannah Khannah, a man or woman of grace.]
Hannah was a prophetess, of the tribe of Asher, who had been praying day and night for sixty years. She continued the intercession for the birth of the coming Messiah. She saw the baby Yeshua, who was the answer to her prayers, just as the first Hannah saw Samuel who was the answer to her prayers.
Luke 2:37-38 – This woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not leave the Temple but served God with fasting and prayers night and day. And coming in at that moment, gave thanks to God and spoke of the child in the ears of all those waiting for the redemption in Jerusalem.
The prayer, prophecy and anointing went from Hannah to Samuel to David to Hannah to Yeshua. Don’t miss the line of connection from Hannah to Hannah.
The prophetic power of Hannah’s prayer could not have been attained without God pushing her through that desperate situation. Intercession out of the depth of desperation released an anointing that changed the world.
So often when God allows us to come into difficult situations, we seek to assuage ourselves. Let us learn to embrace the difficulty and adversity before us, and channel our negative emotions into a deeper level of prayer. Prayer from the depths of a human soul crying out to God in pain, anger, weeping, frustration, sadness and brokenness can produce a great breakthrough.