1 Samuel 1: 26-28
Rev. Samuel Wansley
Women occupy so many leading positions in the bible and among all these women, mothers, occupy very highly respected and prominent places throughout the bible. In the Book of Proverbs, it’s constantly repeated that the duty of sons is to, love and obey their mothers… not simply because she brings comfort to her family, but because it is a command from God. The mother, the grandmother and the step-mother are all mentioned in the bible as a source of strength and faith.
A girl grows up to be a woman but a woman is transformed into or ordained by God to be a mother. Just being a woman does not automatically guarantee membership into this elite and prestigious group of women called mothers. Some believe that just having children meets this criterion. However, If they believe that having a baby is the key factor to motherhood then that fact alone actually disqualifies them. There is so much more to being a mother than having a baby. There is a process that takes place that transforms women into mothers. Not all women are meant to be, or capable of being mothers. Mothers are held accountable by God to take care of HIS children. The child they carried for nine months was a gift sent from God. Jeremiah 1:5 says, “"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…That child is not exclusively yours. It is your responsibility to care of them for HIM, to feed the child both physical nourishment and spiritual food.
One Saturday morning I was watching two robins walking around the yard. The smaller one was leading a larger robin and pretty soon it became obvious to me that this smaller bird was the mother. The larger bird followed close behind the smaller one and whenever the smaller bird found a worm, it would eat a portion and then give the smaller bird what was left. It would even peck one worm and disable it and then allow the smaller one to get it out of the grass, teaching it how to hunt for food. Mothers teach their children. It would benefit some women to go bird watching maybe by bird watching so they can learn how to be mothers.
Our key passage tells the story about a woman who couldn’t have children, but God blessed her with a child because of her prayers. Before she was able to conceive, she was making promises to God about the baby. It deals with the journey Hannah made toward motherhood. There was a man; El-kan-ah, who had two wives. Pe-nin-nah the first wife had children and Hannah the second did not. Now when the time for them to offer sacrifices to the Lord, El-kan-ah gave Pe-nin-nah and her sons and daughter their portions to offer to the priest and he gave Hannah a double portion because he loved her and she did not have children. The two women did not get along. Pe-nin-nah constantly harassed and provoked Hannah and made it her mission to make life miserable for Hannah. Every year when they went to the temple, Pe-nin-nah would harass Hannah because she did not have any children. As a result of this harassment, Hannah cried and would not eat. El-kan-ah tried to make her feel better by reminding her how good he treated her and how much he loved her, but it didn’t lessen the pain. Pe-nin-nah’s ridicule hurt her to the core. Then Hannah went to the temple and cried and prayed to the Lord. She made a promise to God: “If you will look upon my affliction and remember and give me a son… then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life.”
God wants us to have the desires of our hearts and we’ll never know what we can get, until we ask. Hannah prayed for a boy who she would give him back to the lord all the days of his life. She made a specific promise to God for a specific blessing from Him. We must learn that being specific in our prayers earns us the blessing we want and not just ones we’ll settle for. When you pray vague unclear prayers, you get vague, unclear blessings. Specific prayers… get specific blessing.
Three things happened in this prayer. First Hannah specifically asked for a son. Second, she made a promise to God. And third, she then planned out her son’s life. She had faith that if she asked she would receive.
Hannah was in a public place and public prayer was normally done out loud but Hannah was praying silently… even though her lips were moving. The priest, Eli was watching her pray and thought that since her lips were moving, but he heard no words coming out, Hannah must be drunk. Hannah assured him that she was not drunk, but in deep sorrow because she was a woman without a child. No one needed hear what she was saying except the one who searches the heart of men. He needed to hear her crying. He needed to hear her prayer. Words weren’t needed. She was praying, expecting to be heard by God and not man: “I’m a lonely mother without a son, and I promise you… if you bless me. I’ll give him back to you.” Hannah was in agony. She had a man who loved her and she could not give him a child. She had a woman always harassing her and now a priest who accused her of being drunk in the temple. Hannah was in pain.
Pain has a way of getting us into the praying spirit. Pain has a way of making us fall down on our knees in agony and call on the Lord. A mother doesn’t care who sees her praying when she’s in pain. Hannah concluded her pray with these words: ” let me find favor in your sight.” Then she went on her way and sat down to eat. She was sad no longer. Sheknew that her prayer had been heard and she was comforted! And after a time, the Lord remembered her prayer and Hannah became pregnant and had a son. She called him Samuel, because “I asked for him from the Lord.”
This was not one of those “ah,ha!” moments. This baby was the answer to a specific prayer! Remember what she said in vs 27: “I asked the LORD to give me this boy, and he has granted my request. Specific prayers get specific answers. Hannah no longer went on the yearly journey to the temple until she had weaned Samuel and took himto the temple to become a servant of the Lord. The gift she’d been given was returned to the giver, but not before she weaned him and taught him things only a mother can. A mother is the first preacher a child will ever hear so what she says to the child is crucial. The bible says Samuel was brought by Hannah to the Lord; "when she had weaned him" —In other words once she had educated him and gotten him ready for the Lord.
We should educate children early, because bad habits are formed early. We must apply the remedy early and prepare our children for God’s purposes. If we have in our view that our children will be God fearing men and women then we must turn them over to the Lord. We must expose them to the word of God early and often. Mothers must teach children early to deny themselves. You can’t give a child everything they want whenever they want it. They must learn disciplined. Proverbs 6:20 says, “My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother.” It is the mother who lays down the law! There must be fervent prayer. Mothers are the primary source of prayer in many households. So mothers, keep praying for your children.
Thank God for mothers who pray. Mothers who nourished us in their wombs, mothers who month after month felt us moving around inside them, pushing and kicking and urging them to eat when they hungered.
Thank God for Mothers who could not sleep at night unless the restless unborn child inside them slept as well. I applaud the Mothers who endured the pain of childbirth! Celebrate the mothers who nursed their babies with the milk of their breast as God intended, enabling them to grow strong and healthy. Commend the mothers who not only gave birth, but accepted the responsibility of teaching their sons and daughters to be upright and respectable young men and women of God.
Thank God for the barren mothers who may not have children from their own wombs but who became mothers for the abandoned children of the world. They deserve a pat on the back, a hand clap of praise, and a standing ovation!
Thank God for those grandmothers who not only raised their children, but are also raising their grandchildren. Where would many of us be without them and their fervent prayers?
Thank God for the praying mothers in our lives!