11 January 2022
She (Hannah) was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord, and wept bitterly. She made this vow: ‘O Lord of hosts, if only you will look on the misery of your servant, and remember me, and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a male child, then I will set him before you as a nazirite until the day of his death. He shall drink neither wine nor intoxicants, and no razor shall touch his head.’
From 1 Samuel 1:9-20, NRSV
In today’s first reading we hear the heartfelt and desperate prayer of Hannah that she be allowed to conceive a child. As a married but childless woman, Hannah would have been marginalised by the society of her time. To make matters worse, her husband’s other wife did have children and taunted Hannah about her childlessness. Such was the depth of Hannah’s desire, that she was prepared to do a “deal” with God. She vowed that if she were to be granted a son, she would dedicate this child to the Lord’s service. This would be to sacrifice any thought of normal family life and of a close relationship with her child, but it was a sacrifice Hannah was prepared to make. God heard Hannah’s prayer and she conceived and bore her son, Samuel.
- Why do you think Hannah’s prayer was answered?
- Does God always hear and answer our prayers?
You may like to reflect on the prayers that were answered by your own birth.