For This Child I Prayed
Text: 1 Samuel 1
Last week in the Book of Ruth we shared a love story. A love story of Boaz and Ruth that was a type, a symbol of Jesus love for us. This week we look at another love story, Hannah and her little boy Samuel. In it we will also see a reflection of God’s love for us.
Having children changes your life, it changes the way you see things, it put things in perspective. Take this little article entitled, Before and After Children - Priorities have changed!
Before children: I was thankful to have been born the USA, the most powerful free democracy in the world.
After Children: I am thankful for Velcro tennis shoes. As well as saving valuable time, now I can hear the sound of my son taking off his shoes --which gives me three extra seconds to activate the safety locks on the back seat windows right before he hurls them out of the car and onto the freeway.
Before children: I was thankful for the recycling program which will preserve our natural resources and prevent the overloading of landfills.
After children: I am thankful for swim diapers because every time my son wanders into water in plain disposables, he ends up wearing a blimp the size of New Jersey, on his bottom.
Before children: I was thankful for fresh, organic vegetables.
After children: I am thankful for microwaveable macaroni and cheese -- without which my children would be surviving on about three bites of cereal and their own spit.
Before children: I was thankful for the opportunity to obtain a college education and have a higher quality of life than my ancestors.
After children: I am thankful to finish a complete thought without being interrupted.
Before children: I was thankful for the opportunity to vacation in exotic foreign countries so I could experience a different way of life in a new culture.
After children: I am thankful to have time to make it all the way down the driveway to get the mail.
Before children: I was thankful for the Moosewood Vegetarian cookbook.
After children: I am thankful for the butterball turkey hotline.
Before children: I was thankful for a warm, cozy home to share with my loved ones.
After children: I am thankful for the lock on the bathroom door.
Before children: I was thankful for material objects like custom furniture, a nice car and trendy clothes.
After children: I am thankful when the baby spits up and misses my good shoes.
Before children: I was thankful for my wonderful family After children: I am still thankful for my wonderful family.
Having a family was the thing that Hannah wanted more than anything else. Turn with me to 1 Sam 1:9
I. For This Child I Pray 1 Samuel 1:9-18
9 So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD. 10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore. 11 And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head. 12 And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth. 13 Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. 14 And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee. 15 And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD. 16 Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto. 17 Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him. 18 And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.
A. Hannah Prays for Samuel
1. Hannah, or Anna whose name means grace, was childless and in her culture this was a terrible shame. Her husband had taken a second wife probably due to this problem with Hannah. Hannah is in deep turmoil and sorrow of the soul and goes to the tabernacle to pray. So intense is her prayer that she does can only move her mouth in prayer no sound comes forth. (It was and is common in the Middle East to pray aloud.) In her prayer she makes a vow. “but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.” She vows two things, One she will give the child to the Lord for life and He will be a Nazarite from birth.
Samuel father Elkanah, was a Levite and the Levite tribe from the age of 25 to 50 were dedicated to the Lord. They would serve in the tabernacle and later the temple, fulltime if necessary but usually only during the festival times and as the Levitical tribe grew, only in a rotation. But Hannah vows to give her son to God from birth unto death.
In addition, her son would be a Nazarite. The word means separated one. He would be separated from the world unto service to God. To mark that separation the Nazarite would not cut his hair, not touch anything from the grape vine especially wine and would not come near a dead body. Samuel joins only Samson and John the Baptist as Nazarites from birth.
As she prayed Eli who was also the judge of Israel and sat in the judgment seat saw her praying and thought she was drunk. “How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee.” Hannah responded, “No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD.” Literally, she says, “I have had neither wine nor strong drink poured out to me but I have poured out my soul before Jehovah.”
Eli, realizing he was wrong then blesses her, “Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition.” Hannah returns home and about a year later God does grant her the petition and she has a child, the child she had prayed so fervently for. She names him Samuel, which means “His name is God.” She named her son after God.
This child that was a special gift from God, sent through the channel of prayer. This child that would be dedicated to God and be one of the most important prophet and priest of Israel.
B. What can we learn from Hannah?
1. First the understanding that children belong to God.
a) Scripture: Psalms 127:3 “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”
b) Raising a family, nurturing a child is a spiritual exercise and it must be done with a mind and heart towards God and the soul.
c) It doesn’t always seem that way of course, sometimes it’s a lot more like physical torture than spiritual exercise.
d) Laws for Children by Ian Frasier
Law for Sitting at the Table
When at the table, and when you are seated in your high chair or in a chair such as a greater person might use, keep your legs and feet below you as they were. Neither raise up your knees nor place your feet upon the table, for that is an abomination to me. Yes, even when you have an interesting bandage to show, your feet upon the table are an abomination and worthy of rebuke.
Drink your milk as it is given you, neither use it on any utensils, nor fork, nor knife, nor spoon, for this is not what they are for. If you will dip your blocks in the milk and lick it off you will be sent away.
And though your stick of carrot does indeed resemble a marker, draw not with it upon the table. And though the pieces of broccoli are very like small trees, do not stand them upright to make a forest.
Sit just as I have told you and do not lean to one side or the other, nor slide down until you are nearly slid away. Heed me. For if you sit like that your hair will surely go into the syrup.
Laws pertaining to dessert.
For we judge between the plate that is clean and the plate that is unclean. Saying first, that if the plate is clean then you shall have dessert, but of the unclean plate the laws are these; If you have eaten most of your meat and two bites of your peas, with each bite consisting of not less than three peas each, or a total of six peas, eaten where I can see, and you have also eaten enough of your potatoes to fill two forks, both forkfuls eaten where I can see, then you shall have dessert.
But, if you eat a lesser number of peas, and yet you eat the potatoes, still you shall not have dessert. And if you eat the peas, yet leave the potatoes uneaten you shall not have desert, no, not even a small portion thereof.
And if you try to deceive by moving the potatoes and the peas around with a fork, that it may appear you have eaten what you have not, you will fall into iniquity and I will know, and you shall have no dessert.
The Laws on Screaming
Do not scream. It is as if you scream all the time. If you receive a portion of fish from which every piece of herbal seasoning has not been scraped off and the herbal seasoning is loathsome to you, and steeped in vileness, again I say to you, refrain from screaming.
Though the vileness overwhelm you and cause you to faint unto death, make not that sound from within your throat. Neither cover your face nor press your fingers to your nose, for even if I have not made the fish as it should be, behold, I eat it myself. Yet, I do not die.
2. The second thing we learn is that children are God’s. They have been entrusted to you and therefore you must raise them with a mind on the spiritual as much as the physical. This especially means you must pray for them.
a) Pray is sometimes called "standing in the gap." To stand in the gap meant that in a battle when the frontline of defenders had been breached because a soldier had fallen, that another soldier would step up to stand in the gap lest the enemy break through. This is what parents do when they prayer for their children, they stand in the gap between a world that seeks to destroy them with drugs, promiscuity, entitlement and worthlessness. Time spent in prayer is time spent fighting for the souls of your children.
3. You must also pray with them as well as for them.
a) The parent who does not teach their child to pray is a parent that is dooming their own children to spiritual blindness. Your children should not be able to remember the first time they prayed it should be such a part of their life that they have always prayed and always seen their parents pray just like breathing they shouldn’t be able to remember the first time.
Joke: Again there will be difficulties in teaching them what to pray. Like the family that was entertaining the pastor and his wife for Sunday dinner on a hot, blistering day. When all were seated, the man of the house turned to his six-year-old and asked him to say grace. "But, Daddy, I don't know what to say," he protested. The mother flustered and embarrassed said, "Just say what you've heard me say." Obediently he bowed his little head and said, "O Lord, why did I invite these people here on a such hot day like this?!"
Yet even a bad prayer is better than no prayer at all. There are no excuses for not praying for and praying with their children.
Deuteronomy 6:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Transition: It was not enough for Hannah to pray for Samuel she also would sacrifice for her child
II. For This Child I Sacrifice 1 Samuel 1:19-25
19 And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the LORD remembered her. 20 Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD. 21 And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the LORD the yearly sacrifice, and his vow. 22 But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever. 23 And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only the LORD establish his word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him. 24 And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the LORD in Shiloh: and the child was young. 25 And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli.
A. Hannah did more than pray she sacrificed for her child.
1. She sacrificed her time vs. 22.
She did not make the annual trip to Shiloh. A trip the entire family went on. A trip which was much like a festival and a celebration. She put these off until the child would be weaned, in Biblical times about 3 or 4 years old.
2. She sacrificed her family’s wealth Vs. 24.
Wealth was measured in those days not by money but by possessions of land and cattle. When Hannah made the trip to Shiloh she and her husband, they sacrificed 3 bullocks, one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine. This would represent a significant amount of wealth on the part of the family for Samuel.
Later in chapter two she continues, long after Samuel is giving to the tabernacle, in her sacrifices by taking him a coat every year that she goes to see him during the family pilgrimage to Shiloh.
B. Parents are you sacrificing for you children?
The greatest priority God gives you after your relationship to Him is your wife and children. It is expected that you sacrifice deeply and completely for them. This once was understood by parents but in a world that has become self-centered and selfish it is not even a consideration anymore. In a world where children are not prayed for and longed for but instead are the unwanted side effects of immorality there is often no sacrifice but resentment.
William Bennet the former Sec of Education recalls watching a woman on Oprah trying to justify the fact that she had left her children alone all night at home. She said, “I’ve got to have some time for myself.” He thought to himself, “I am watching the foundation of our nation crumble.”
Let me tell you as a parent your time must be sacrificed for your children. Even more than your money or anything else it should be your first and greatest sacrifice, because when you give your time to your children you are actually giving yourself to your children.
Mark 10:14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
If Jesus could sacrifice His time to be with children then shouldn’t we understand how important it is, as parents?
C. Illustration: A Day Fishing
1. In the book, The Effective Father, Gordon MacDonald wrote: "It is said of Boswell, the famous biographer of Samuel Johnson, that he often referred to a special day in his childhood when his father took him fishing. The day was fixed in his mind, and he often reflected upon many things his father had taught him in the course of their fishing experience together. "After having heard of that particular excursion so often, it occurred to someone much later to check the journal that Boswell's father kept and determine what had been said about the fishing trip from the parental perspective. Turning to that date, the reader found only one sentence entered: 'Gone fishing today with my son; a day wasted.' "
D. Finally, the day came when Hannah would fulfill her vow and dedicate Samuel to God’s service.
III. For This Child I Dedicate 1 Samuel 1:26-28
26 And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD. 27 For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: 28 Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.
A. Hannah took Samuel to the Tabernacle and Gave him to God.
The day came when Samuel, 3 or 4 years old, was taken to the Eli and given into God’s service for life. Hannah could not know how God would use such a dedication. Years later when Israel had lost their high priest and the ark of the covenant had been taken by the Philistines, during one of the darkest times in the nation’s history, God would raise up Samuel to be the judge and priest of Israel.
Later, Samuel would begin schools for the prophets, Samuel would anoint the first king of Israel, Saul and it would be Samuel who would anoint the shepherd boy David to be the greatest king of Israel. All this could happen in God power and time because Hannah dedicated her child to God.
B. Have you dedicated your family to God?
We don’t dedicate our children now as Hannah did then. (In fact if you bring them here at 3 years old for this old preacher to raise we are all going to be in a lot of trouble.) but we still need to understand the principle of dedication.
- A child is dedicated to God to seek God’s grace and help in raising that child.
- A child is dedicated to God to show commitment by the parents to raise this child in a Godly home.
- A child is dedicated to God to keep Satan and this world from gaining a foothold in that child’s life.
2. How then do you dedicate a child to God today?
Just as Hannah did, First by prayer, then by sacrifice and then by an act of dedication. It may be at a church service or it could be simply a time of prayer at home but however you do it, it should be done.
You also dedicate your child by bringing them to God’s house just as Hannah did. There is no dedication, there is no protection without your children being in church.
2 Timothy 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
C. Illustration: My Mom getting us to church in the pastor’s VW bug
1. One Sunday morning dressed in our Sunday best we walked out to the driveway got in the car, turned the key and nothing. It was dead. Without hesitation Mom called the Pastor, Bro. Jack Elam. He sent his faithful wife that we only knew as Sister Elam to pick us up in their car a VW Beetle. In the front seat was the pastors wife, and my Mom. Me with my sister Crystal sitting on my lap, my brother Cory and my sister Shanna sitting in his lap in the back seat and in the tiny storage compartment in the very back we stuffed our youngest and smallest little brother Vince. He by far was the happiest of all of us. We were cramped, we were late and we weren’t in a great mood but we made it to church. Not just that Sunday but every Sunday because Mom knew her family needed to be in God’s house.
omeone is Waiting Up
John Todd was born in Rutledge, Vermont, into a family of several children. They later moved to the village of Killingsworth back in the early 1800s. And there, at a very young age, both John's parents died. The relatives wondered what they would do with so many children, how they could parcel them out to other friends and relatives. One dear and loving aunt said she would take little John. The aunt sent a horse and a servant to get John, who was only six at the time. The servant, Caesar, came and put the little boy on the back of the horse. On the way back the little boy began to ask questions:
John: Will she be there?
Caesar: Oh, yes, she'll be there waiting up for you.
John: Will I like living with her?
Caesar: My son, you fall into good hands.
John: Will she love me?
Caesar: Ah, she has a big heart.
John: Will I have my own room? Will she let me have a puppy?
Caesar: She's got everything all set, son. I think she has some surprises, too.
John: Do you think she'll go to bed before we get there?
Caesar: Oh, no! She'll be sure to wait up for you. You'll see when we get out of these woods. You'll see her candle shining in the window.
When they got to the clearing, sure enough, there was a candle in the window and she was standing in the doorway. She reached down, kissed him, and said "Welcome home!" She fed him supper, took him to his room, and waited until he fell asleep. John Todd grew up to be a great minister of the gospel. But it was there at his aunt's, his new mother, that he grew up. It was always a place of enchantment because of his aunt. It awed him that she had given him a second home. She had become a second mother to him. Years later, long after he had moved away, his aunt wrote to tell him of her impending death. Her health was failing and she wondered what was to become of her. This is what John Todd wrote her:
"My Dear Aunt,
Years ago I left a house of death not knowing where I was to go, whether anyone cared, whether it was the end of me. The ride was long but the Caesar encouraged me. Finally, he pointed out your candle to me, and there we were in the yard and you embraced me and took me by the hand into my own room that you had made up. After all these years I still can't believe it--how you did all that for me! I was expected; I felt safe in that room--so welcomed. It was my room.
Now it's your turn to go, and as one who has tried it out, I'm writing to let you know that Someone is waiting up. Your room is all ready, the light is on, the door is open, and as you ride into the yard--don't worry, Auntie. You're expected! I know. I once saw God standing in your doorway--long ago!" -James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 377.
That is what we as parents are aiming for, it is what we pray, sacrifice and dedicate for, so that our children will first see God’s love for them in our love for them. There is no greater task, there is no greater calling given to God’s people than raising your children in a Godly home.