Because I asked

There are two things that stand out about Hannah. First, she was a woman that prayed to God and second, she made a personal request for herself. These two things may not seem significant today because it is very common for women to pray for God’s help, but in the time Hannah lived, men functioned as the spiritual leaders and made petitions for their entire household. Also at that time, God mostly dealt with his people on a collective basis and was primarily concerned with the establishment of the nation of Israel.

Hannah demonstrated that she had a personal relationship with the LORD and that she believed he cared about her as an individual. Hannah says to the LORD, “if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid and remember me” (1 Samuel 1:11). Previously, God had seen the affliction of his people in Egypt and had remembered his covenant with Abraham. Now, Hannah wants God to pay attention to her personally and remember his covenant with her as an individual.

It says that when Hannah prayed, she spoke to the LORD in her heart and poured out her soul to him. In the Hebrew language, “The heart includes not only the motives, feelings, affections, and desires, but also the will, the aims, the principles, the thoughts, and the intellect of man” (3820). You could say that Hannah was being transparent with the LORD, completely open and honest about what she wanted him to do.

When Hannah’s son is born, she names him Samuel “Because I have asked him of the LORD” (1 Samuel 1:20). The name Samuel which means “heard of God” (8050) is derived from two other Hebrew words, shâma‘ (shaw – mah´) and ’el (ale). El is the Hebrew word for God and is usually “combined with other words to constitute a compound term for diety” (410). Shama means “to give undivided attention” (8085). It is the Holy Spirit that enables us to communicate with God directly and to have his undivided attention, so it is possible Hannah’s prayer was facilitated by the Holy Spirit and she named her son after the third person of the trinity.

Like Jesus, we know that the Holy Spirit is an eternal being that was present at the creation of Earth. Although the work of the Holy Spirit is primarily focused on after Jesus’ resurrection, it appears that he was involved in the lives of Israelites that had a personal relationship with God. Hannah is an example on one such person. Hannah understood that God deals with his children on an individual basis. He cares about us and listens to us as if each one of us is his only child.

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