Hannah\'s Dedication

Day 1

(Today's devotion written by Gwen McElwin)

Read: I Samuel chapters 1-2-3 seems like a lot, but it sets the stage so to speak.
Hanna was a woman who desperately wanted a child.  Her husband’s other wife had several children and taunted Hanna with this fact to the point of Hanna not eating and crying.  ALOT   Eli the priest was no help – told her to stop drinking!
So, what did Hanna do?

In our frustration what do we do?

Where do we turn in our rough times? 

Have you ever said crazy things –  like make a vow you will then not keep?

The Bible doesn’t seem to say whether this was a bad vow or a good vow, so what would you say?  Are these good things to do and why do you think we do make vows like this in negotiating with God?

Day 2

(By Gwen McElwin)

Read Genesis 8:1; Exodus 2:23-25; Genesis 19:29; Psalm 77:7-20

Hanna asks the Lord to remember her in 1 Samuel 1:11.  Does God forget us and our request or is there more to her prayer? What do you think it means for God to “remember” as it says in these passages?

It seems things happen when God remembers!

Read chapter 1 of 1 Samuel again.

What stands out for you?

What stirs your heart here?

This is not only about Hanna; her husband will have a son – but not living with him.  
Eli, though a not so good priest, gives him a blessing. 

Maybe share where this chapter takes you in thought and prayer on the app in the messaging section under the Five Days Discussion thread.

Day 3

(Today's devotions written by Gwen McElwin)

Look at I Samuel 1:21-28
Here Hannah, dedicates Samuel to the Lord.  A lot had to have gone into this; Hanna honored her vow to the Lord. 
I ask myself – could I do this?
Could I ask my husband to do this?

Look at the families throughout the bible who made history happen out of being barren and seeking the lord!
Genesis 11:30 Abrham and Sarai and born to them Isacc
Genesis 29:31 Isacc and Rachel and born to them Esau and Jacob
Judges 13:1-5 Manoah and his wife and born to them Samson
Luke 1:7 Zacharia and Elizabeth and born to them John the Baptist

Read 1 Samuel 2:1-11

Her prayer in chapter 2 is like a road map of her prayers and life of seeing the Lord as faithful always.

If you were writing a prayer as a testimony to the Lord, what would you include in it?
Maybe share with someone today, or on the app in the messaging section some of your thoughts about your prayer to give God glory.

Day 4

(Written by Keira Malmquist)
Hannah had a desire for a child. She experienced significant grief, especially as Peninnah, Hannah’s husband Elkanah’s other wife, mocked her in her suffering. Elkanah loved Hannah, yet she still had grief over her barrenness.  And yet she was persistent in prayer. And she had HOPE that God would fulfill her desires. Instead of taking it out on others, she took that sorrow to God. She prayed persistently. And she refused to believe that her situation had to be permanent, she had HOPE in what God could do. Hannah prayed specifically, sincerely, and sacrificially. She was persistent & kept praying even though the desire had not been fulfilled yet. And God rewarded her faith. She kept her promise of giving Samuel over to serve the Lord, and she did so with a thankful heart. It was through prayer that Hannah’s life was changed, and her desire fulfilled.

1 Samuel 1:16 is an example of how even though Hannah felt grief & the weight of her situation, she still leaned into prayer.

Hannah praises God for His great work and His power. Hannah recognized that her strength was not hers but rather it came from God, and she rejoiced in God’s ability to make the weak strong. Hannahs story shows us an example of how God can use our weakness to accomplish great things.

How often do we question God for what we are experiencing… “Why God?” “Why Me?” “Why this?” “Why now?” … but how often do we ask those questions compared to actually being persistent in prayer? 

How often do we have a desire yet we focus too much on the current seasons/situation and neglect to cling to who we know God to be. How often do we let the grief and the hardship consume us and don’t cling to that trust & hope because we don’t see the way, all we see is the path behind us and how we have not had fulfillment in that desire yet. We pray but we don’t fully believe that it's going to be fulfilled or we pray but are not persistent. We let our view of the current circumstances override our trust in God's ability.

Even if you have never experienced the struggles of infertility. Even if you are not a mom or a parent. You have similar experiences at some point in your life, or some day you will.

Reflect back on a time that in the moment you felt like it was not going to happen, yet God fulfilled it. Was it in your timing? Was it in the way you thought it would happen? What did you experience in your faith in this time? Did you question? Did you trust? Did you cling to scripture & community or did you draw away and fall into depression. Was your faith strengthened? Was faith the only thing that got you through? Did you rely too much on what the world was saying to you? Did you lean too much into just keeping busy or did you slow down and seek God?

Day 5

(Written by Keira Malmquist)
Motherhood has been one of the most challenging things I've ever gone through. It has exposed to me so many things about myself, but also about God as well. I have found myself questioning A LOT. I went through it with what felt like loneliness. But what it has taught me & shown me is that our only true comfort & strength comes from Jesus.

Being a mom or a parent is a sanctification process. It's not meant to be easy. But it has taught me that we are not meant to shape our kids into a mold to make ourselves feel better or to make it “easier” we are meant to lay down our life, pick up our cross, & let that walk completely transform us. Even if you are not a parent, you experience this in your every single day life, maybe at work or in a relationship or maybe just in life… so how often do we ask why? How often do we focus on our own comfort, doing things from our own strength, and leaning into our own understanding, white knuckling it & not surrendering to God. Surrender truly means that we seek the Lord first for everything that we shape our lives around him not just fitting him into our life. And we have so many examples within the bible of what this looks like.

Read 1 Samuel 2:1-10 and Luke 1:46-55. Then Compare.

What Similarities do you see? What stands out to you about both of these passages?

How can you use these examples in your own life & current difficult season? 
Write this down.

Prayer changes things. So choose to seek God through prayer & be persistent, and begin to see how it begins to completely transform you & lead you to continual surrender.

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