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Mindful of Us! Mary’s Magnificat!

When David looked up at the starry heavens, he marveled:

What is man that thou art mindful of him?

Mary quoted that psalm, echoing David’s amazement in her Magnificat. 

My soul magnifies the Lord,

for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant.

Her Magnificat also seems much inspired by Hannah’s prayer.

Hannah was taunted by her husband’s second wife, Peninnah, whom he married because Hannah was barren.

 Hannah went to the temple to pour out her heart to God,

and she was so fervent the priest thought she was drunk.

Before she knew if God was going to answer her prayer for a child,

she went away and her face was no longer sad.

Hannah, David, and Mary all knew the character of God,

and you can see it in their prayers.

We can learn from them a lot about effectual prayer.

Let me tell you a story.

My daughter Annie told me she was going through a dry time and wanted a good book on prayer. I got both of us a book that had been highly recommended to me so that we could talk about it together over this Thanksgiving.




Two of my big take-a-ways have to do with approach and method.

1. Approach

Miller kept emphasizing that we approach God as “Abba,” as a Father who delights to bless His children, and trust Him, the way a weaned child leans against his mother’s breast. In other words, we pray knowing He wants to give, and we trust, knowing He will give us what is best. Hannah did this, praying specifically, knowing the heart of God, and she left changed before she knew if He would give what she asked for, for she was trusting, like a weaned child against her mother. The child is no longer crying frantically for the breast, for he has been weaned, and at peace. If God doesn’t give our request, because we know His character, we can trust.

2. Method

Miller gets cards and on each card writes down 3-5 requests for a particular person. When that request is answered, he crosses it off. I’ve heard this method before, and even tried it and failed. But this time I seem to be doing better — perhaps it was all the illustrations Miller gave, or perhaps it was doing it together with my daughter Annie.  I bought a pack of plain index cards for Annie and I to do this together, and she said, “Well, I was thinking the cards should be nicer.” She wanted to make some, but time was running out, so we ended up going to Hobby Lobby and getting an assorted pack of cards with designs on one side and blank on the other. We chose designs that we thought fit the individual, and then together wrote down specific requests for them. The special designs make it harder for me to lose them amidst all my papers. I’m glad Annie urged me to get nicer cards!


I have been praying though each of them daily. As you know, I have a control idol, and it grows back, especially when I have a child in trouble. But I have learned that prayer is more effective than trying to fix that child (or that child’s spouse) with advice. I cannot tell you details, but there is something I have so wanted to have happen for this child in trouble. So, I simply listed it on that prayer card and kept bringing it before the Lord. Just this week, that prayer was answered. My heart melted as I thought, “My soul magnifies the Lord, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant.”


1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

Last week our own Bev from Broken Bow wrote something that will be our “God Hunt” all week.

 I love the Christmas Season and how Jesus shines through in spite of the World and all the trappings. He just simply cannot be hidden or shut out. If you have a watchful eye at all It seems to me that Jesus shows up in unassuming and humble places.  Just like His first coming. 

2. Was there a way Jesus “showed up” for you last week in His quiet way?

Monday: Hannah’s Life

3. Read 1 Samuel 1:1-8

A. What is Hannah’s situation?

B. Who closed Hannah’s womb? Why, do you think?

C. Do any verses become radioactive? If so, why?

4. Read 1 Samuel 1:9-20

A. Describe what happened between Hannah and Eli.

B. What do you think the phrase “and the Lord remembered her” means?

5. Read 1 Samuel 1:21-28 and share anything that becomes radioactive.


I melt whenever I read verse 27. I have been overwhelmed when each of my children were given to me, whether biological or adopted. Steve and I prayed so specifically for Sally — and like Miller says in his book, we’re afraid to be specific because “we don’t want to risk our prayer not being answered.” But oh, the amazement when a specific prayer is answered! We were young, trusting, and extravagant when we prayed for a girl with a heart for God, with talents she could use for Him, and I prayed she’d look like my husband, not knowing how much that would mean when we lost him. I always remember Steve’s cry when Sally was born: “God gave us a girl, and she looks just like me!” The doctor and the nurses laughed, but indeed, Sally is a clone of her father physically. I also have incredible answers to prayer with both of our adoptions. One time Annie said to me, “Why am I so much like you and Dad?” I know it is because God hand-picked her for us. I marvel at how mindful God is not only in giving us the biological children that we need or need us, but in placing the solitary in families. Even with children that may cause us grief, I know He is sovereign. I always remember Joseph’s comment concerning his five adopted children, one of whom is always in and out of jail: “God gave us exactly the children we needed or that needed us.”

Tuesday: Hannah’s Prayer

6. Read 1 Samuel 2:1-10

A. What do you think was in Hannah’s mind when she prays as she does in verses 1-5?

B. Brennan Manning called the gospel the “ragamuffin gospel.” How do you see Hannah saying the same in verses 6-10?

7. Was there a way God showed up for you in His quiet way in the last 2 days?


Wednesday-Thursday: Mary’s Magnificat

Prepare your heart with this:

8. How do you think Elizabeth’s prophetic prayer impacted Mary’s Magnificat?


9. Read Luke 1:46-55

A. What similarities do you see between Hannah’s prayer and Mary’s  Magnificat?



B. What does Luke 1:50 mean to you?


This is a quote from Psalm 103, the psalm Steve and I memorized and often prayed in bed when he was sick. How he prayed Psalm 103:17 for his children and his children’s children, whom he would not see on earth, but who are the beneficiaries of their father and grandfather’s prayers. Here I am last Christmas with 8 of the 10 who were born after Steve’s death. The youngest is Steven, named after the grandfather who prayed so for him.


10. Mary obviously knew Scripture and incorporated it into her prayers. Why is this wise? Do you do this? If not, could you?


11. What stands out to you from the Magnificat and why?


12. John Stonestreet, whom I respect, says he has been troubled by the carol “Mary, Did You Know?” I found that interesting as I have liked that carol, but on pondering the Magnificat, I see some wisdom in his claim that Mary knew a whole lot more that we might think.) Would love thoughts!

13. Was there a way God showed up for you in His quiet way in the last two days?


Friday: Optional Keller Sermon: (Not free but excellent — on Hannah’s Prayer)

Hannah’s Prayer for Family

14. If you listened to the above, share your notes and comments.


15. What’s your take-a-way and why?







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  1. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

    I just pulled my copy of A Praying Life back off my shelf. I liked it a a lot (and loved his A Loving Life) but its been a while since I looked at it. I was overwhelmed at the cards before, but you & Annie have inspired me to try again! Of course now I want those pretty cards! Love Annie’s creative heart!

    This spoke directly to me as it is so true of me also: “I have a control idol, and it grows back, especially when I have a child in trouble. But I have learned that prayer is more effective than trying to fix that child”. I’m still learning on the submitting it to prayer, but I recently read a good article (Carolyn Mahaney, I think?) that said her one parenting regret is that she didn’t fully trust her kids to God more.

    And this: “Before she knew if God was going to answer her prayer for a child, she went away and her face was no longer sad.”  Her joy did not depend or rest in having her prayer answered. Her joy came from her fellowship with God, her trusting Him, releasing the anxiety, allowing Him to bring her peace.

    1. Sorry, one more! Just re-reading and really moved too by Psalm 8:3-4–it is SO amazing, So humbling, that the One who has created all, cares specifically for us . My 11 yr old was out riding his bike yesterday and ran inside so excited to show me something. He held out a leaf, and said-“Look! It’s a cross!” (then I saw it), and he told me how at one point on his ride leaves began swirling around him, but just this one leaf rested on his shoulder. He said “that’s how God works,right?” (we had previously had a conversation about looking for Him around us, in nature). Reading this psalm here, reminds me of that sense of awe–how can it be, but it IS, that the Creator is mindful of us, and cares so personally for us.


      1. Lizzy, I love the story of your 11 yo, too.  So exciting that he already is looking for God at work.

      2. What a delightful God sighting for your little boy.

      3. That makes me so happy for him (11 yo) because what you have been praying for for him is happening, he is beginning to see God as someone he can draw from and find his life in, as he sees how He cares for him, revealing Himself to him in big and small ways.. 🙂

        1. Mary–so glad you pointed that out! Somehow I hadn’t even connected the dots–you’re exactly right! I have been praying for God to become more personal to Him–wow. 😀

  2. Sunday:
    1.   What stands out to you from the above and why?
    Several things stood out for me-the Scriptures quoted here are some of my favorites, the contented look of the baby in the mother’s arms, the story of the cards.
    This morning, across the backdrop of a still dark sky, the full moon shone majestically. I looked out the kitchen window and thought of the very psalm that Dee is talking about here and said “Ah, Lord. Look at your magnificent creation and what is man indeed that you are mindful of him?” It brought me a lump in my throat and a sudden burst of joy in my heart all I could say is thank you!

  3. 1. What stands out?  I do believe that the gadget on which I first see the blog post impacts what stands out to me at first.  A couple hours ago, I viewed the blog on a cheapo tablet that is great for watching Amazon movies (May comment on this another time, but I watched Silence last night: depressing but thought provoking and well done)

    Both the design of the blog and the tablet helped the art to stand out to me.  Also, I think that because I already had started thinking about the Magnificat, the image of Mary jumped out at me.  I took a minute to look for the image and found this on Bruce Herman’s, the artist’s, site:

    Magnificat is comprised of two large altarpieces that were begun in a bottega style course that I taught in Orvieto, Italy in Fall of 2003. The panels were prepared by apprentices in the traditional manner: many layers of traditional marble-dust and chalk gesso, with each layer carefully sanded and prepared for painting. Townsfolk from Orvieto posed as models for various scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary––and students helped to interview, research, and participate generally in my research for the project. The panels were begun that Fall and were taken up again in summer of 2005 when I had a “Studio Aperto” during my exhibition at the Palazzo dei Sette in Orvieto. I had the ten panels shipped stateside to my studio in Massachusetts, and completed the altarpieces over the next couple of years. The final two pieces toured the United States after being installed at the Monastero San Paolo in Orvieto for two years between 2009 and 2011, after which they were returned to the States. They are, as of this writing (Fall 2013), touring in the USA again: Laity Lodge in Texas, New City Church in Phoenix, Canton Museum of Art, and the Marian Library at University of Dayton.

    I’m also intrigued by the use of cards when praying for people — and a little intimidated.  I can imagine them walking all over the house.  The main reason I sometimes write lists is that writing itself helps me remember.  But I rarely go back and look at them because I don’t have them with me when I need them.  The fancy cards might help 🙂   I’ve been going through stuff in an attempt to move someday (!!!!) and the thought of one more piece of paper makes me head spin.  Maybe if I find a place in the house doesn’t usually accumulate paper  (the bathtub  😀 )

    1. dee , pls tell Christy how much the above means to me . The word platform stood out. Wherever I am , whatever my situation is, God can use me if I be obedient n surrendered to Him.

    2. SO encouraging: “Elizabeth’s barrenness was not a curse —it was not a reflection of how blameless and worthy they were of receiving God’s blessing of children… it was the PLATFORM in which God used to bring about one of his greatest miracles.  It was HIS WAY of preparing the world for its Savior”

    3. This made me weep. I sent it to a friend who I thought of immediately. Dee tell Christy that I dearly hope she continues here with us 🙂

    4. Yes, encourage Christy to contribute more. So blessed by the richness of her thoughts and comments.

  4. 1. What stands out to you from above?

    The emotional impact of the baby picture was pretty strong.  Reminds me of when mine were that little–precious!

    But the first picture of the whole earth and outer space with a solitary person standing beneath it really communicates so much.

    I guess I love both images and how they fit together to reflect God’s relationship with me.  Beautiful! Thanks for the pics!

    2. Was there a way Jesus showed up for you last week in his quiet way?

    Our family hasn’t relocated or changed jobs or anything, but last week we pulled our 8yr old out of a private Christian school and put him into a very small Christian teaching co-op.  In the middle of the academic year.  Our older two had both graduated from that private Christian school and so we left a community of people we’ve known for a long time.  It was a difficult decision to make, taking over year of prayer and seeking God’s will for him.  I knew what God wanted before the school year started, but I chose to wait until God changed my husband’s mind—which was about a month ago.  I thought the timing was terrible.  But after a few days at the new school, our 8-yr old came home and told us that he loves his new school and he’s really glad he got to go to two schools this year so he could do all the fun stuff at both places. Those were precious words for my anxious heart!  I feel criticism and concern from people at the old school–also silence. But I have felt a burden lifted from my heart this week.  Reading about Mary’s courage in traveling such a distance encouraged me.  And seeing how God changed Elizabeth and Zacheriah’s social rejection into personal joy, strength, blessing for the King—my heart was blessed.  My life is not usually so dramatic, and I was fearful.  But Jesus showed up for me in many quiet ways of confirmation for this decision and His good plan for our family.

  5. Christy- I honestly started trying to “copy & paste” what stood out to me in your answer here and I couldn’t find a stopping place! The whole post is just beautiful and bursting with wisdom. THANK YOU for sharing your heart and thoughts with us–so hope you’ll stay!

  6. I would like to join you in the advent series to help me this month to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

    1. Welcome, Gloria!

  7. What stood out to me was that your prayer for your daughter was answered Dee! That is so exciting & encourages me to keep praying specific prayers for my kids needs, & not try to fix or get over-involved with my dtr. I think I will write my requests on an index card & offer them before the Lord each day & especially when I am tempted to get anxious about her 🙂

    The Lord really strengthened & comforted me this week, & reminded me that He allows me to see the muck of my enabling & co-dependency, so that He can scrape off the next layer, & heal & transform me. He wants us to be whole & healthy & living His abundant life. No more chains!!

  8. 2. Was there a way Jesus “showed up” for you last week in His quiet way?  yes 😉

    And sorry, I can’t tell you much about it because I can’t remember except that I was driving and He was funny in response to what I was prayer.  Probably wouldn’t kill me to keep a record…

  9. 1.  What stood out….using prayer cards for individuals. I’ve been lousy at writing down requests and their answers. I’ve attributed it to the way I tend to pray, which is more globally, for the person’s spiritual growth and relationship with God, rather than the things that are more tangible. Maybe I am really missing out, both on the prayer requests and for the pretty cards!


    2.  Last week Jesus showed up in His quiet way in my meeting with a college student to start a mentoring relationship. I had asked for prayer for the time.  We were able to meet, and spent over an hour together. It was obvious as we talked that God has crafted my family of origin and past experiences to be able to speak into this young woman’s life. I am excited to keep meeting with her!

  10. 1.  Was there a way Jesus “showed up” for you last week in His quiet way?
    Yes. I think Bev says it well…”if you have a watchful eye Jesus shows up in unassuming ways. Last week, it was through a colleague being available to set up a simulation manikin so my students can listen to respiratory and heart sounds-I wouldn’t have the time to be trained to set it up in the lab; vanilla cupcakes on sale for treats for my PM kids to celebrate a football district championship (my winning student likes white cake LOL); availability of a few friends to go with us at the last minute for what was a wonderful “Journey to Judea” walk. If I weren’t watchful as Bev said, I would have accorded it to happenstance. Lord, you have been so “Immanuel”.

    1. Bing,  Enjoy reading your sweet examples.  Life is so full of “little blessings” when our hearts are open to Him.

  11. The Lord showed up for me in a HUGE way though it was quiet. Feel a bit random here but need to share. My husband and I have been separated for over two years. Last Tuesday could have possibly been the end of our 33 year marriage. BUT GOD and Praise God It has not ended. I THOUGHT I had peace with the road we were taking and I felt lulled in to traveling as the being in limbo waiting has not been easy. I was looking for my own solution and felt I had the peace as it was what my husband was seeming to want. The Word says if the unbelieving spouse wants to leave let them go. It does not say assist them. I was assisting. Without all the details things could not get finalized on Tuesday due to complexities. On Wed AM I woke early with a lot of unrest and thought “what am I doing?????” I DO NOT want a divorce. I was not going to do any more of the leg work and sent my husband a message telling Him that. The REAL PEACE the peace that surpasses all understanding then came. I cannot describe it. The enemy has been whispering lies and I was falling,prey. My husband is accepting my wanting to stay married and is in agreement NO DIVORCE. Not a whole lot has changed with our situation but a lot has changed within me. The Lord knows our future and I will walk this out with Him. I feel a new sense of HOPE and much JOY and REAL PEACE. I am so thankful for my praying friends thru this process. I confess I was asking for prayers but not giving enough of the details and had I given a bit more I may have avoided this whole road in the first place. The enemy had me right where he wanted me. I shudder to think if I had not had that awakening Wed morning. The still small voice. The answered prayer.

    1. Oh Liz! This is HUGE!! So thankful you listened and heard Him. Thank You Jesus! I’m really glad you shared this with us. I will continue to pray for your situation, but I am so pleased you are at peace. Isn’t it a wonderful feeling? Love and hugs sister!

    2. Thank you for sharing Liz, so grateful for that flooding in of peace!

    3. Liz, as your sisters here pray, remember that God can return life to dry bones! (Ezekiel) Keep seeking God’s face in this! Just a year ago I saw it happen for a friend of mine….

    4. So glad you shared this with us, Liz! We will wait to see what He does next!

    5. Liz, I share the feelings of the others in their comments. This is hugh and I too will pray. God is able to work in amazing ways.

    6. Praying, Liz!

    7. Oh, wow, Liz! This is huge as Laura has said. This gives me so much encouragement for a friend of mine who is going through a similar situation. And they are still together though the husband filed for divorce a few months back. The Lord can do the impossible. Hugs to you!

    8. Liz, I was so excited to read your post! Wow, God is awesome, & what an encouragement for us all to see Him at work in your marriage, & in your heart!!  🙂

    9. oh Liz–I’m just seeing this, but thank you SO much for sharing it here–what a JOY to join you in prayer for your marriage and feel this new HOPE He has given you! I am remembering some of your older posts from months back when you were without that hope–and hearing it now in your voice is just beautiful. I’m praying Isaiah 43:19 for your marriage “Behold, I am doing a new thing;  now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” 

  12. 3. Read 1 Samuel 1:1-8
    A. What is Hannah’s situation? 

    She is married to a man with two wives. She can’t have children, but the other wife can.

    B. Who closed Hannah’s womb? Why, do you think?
    God closed her womb. I’m not sure why, but was it to “punish” for the polygamist situation?
    C. Do any verses become radioactive? If so, why?
    Probably, for me the polygamy, and her not eating because she was so sad. I know polygamy was common in the OT, but it is strange to me. The not eating is also foreign to me! When I’m depressed that’s all I do 😩.


      1. Ouch, I really didn’t mean anything by my statements; no judgement here! I only thought you meant something “hot” when you said radioactive and that is exactly as I see it. God did punish in the OT, right? The flood and the wiping out of armies that were not His people did occur. I would think God wouldn’t like polygamy either even though it was common practice.

        1. No worries Dee, thank you for correcting me.  I wasn’t thinking about religious versus gospel quite frankly. I was just thinking about what was shocking to me, or as you said it radioactive. Thanks for reminding me that I should always be looking for the gospel in the Old Testament right? So, Hannah was faithful and was eventually rewarded  regardless of her circumstances. Thanks for the reminder 😉

        2. I also meant to add that when we struggle as Hannah did we tend to look to God, and maybe that’s why he closed her womb because  he wanted her heart?

  13. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

    The character of God, that we are changed as we draw near to him. and The Praying Life. I was really impacted positively by that book, it helped me be more conversational in my prayer style instead of following a mental formula. I never did though fill out my prayer cards. I did even buy prettier ones than I had initially 🙂

    2. Was there a way Jesus “showed up” for you last week in His quiet way?

    Yesterday morning I looked at the blog early in the morning but left w/o a comment. I was feeling weary of heart. When I went to Sunday School we were beginning a new book of the bible which had yet to be announced. We are in Luke and yesterdays focus was Mary’s Magnificat. 😮
    Our homework was to read Hannah’s prayer. Discussion in the classed turned to lament as a leader of the college age group had been walking his group through that topic the night before, I remarked on a previous discussion we had when studying Ruth regarding lament, Ruth was the text they were studying. The whole class was a tender sort of affirmation to my spirit that the Lord doesn’t want me to check out.

  14. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

    The pain. How Hannah was barren and mistreated-the pain of barrenness and then it was like she was kicked over and over again via her husband’s fruitful wife giving birth and taunting her. What pain! She could have backed away from God feeling deserted but she drew near, and oh He brings healing to the pain in our hearts when we draw near.

    I love how God is drawing Annie to Him via the book Dee got for both of them to read. Isn’t that like Him? He never leaves us abandoned in our deserts. I have found that in my dry times I can back away yet He draws me to Him in His surprising and soft ways.

    For me, my desert times are because of my idolatry, or pain someone else has inflicted on me-or both at the same time but my heart stops when i think of how He has hidden in those times to try and test which was best for me. I have found when I don’t draw near He gives me opportunities to turn and draw near-what love.  I am so glad I memorized this verse back in the early 90’s for God brings it to mind often and back then I didn’t experience the deeper pain I have experienced in life since then, and I have found I am a mess-yep, a ragamuffin-yet He is faithful and loves me. Lamentations 2:22, 23 The Lord’s lovingkindness indeed never cease for they are new every morning. GREAT is thy faithfulness. Pain can consume us, but it His lovingkindness that we are not consumed.

    What also stood out was the rest He gives when we draw near trusting His character. To me trusting His character is HUGE.

  15. 3.B.  Hannah’s womb was closed by God. He alone decides conception, as that is when life starts. As with other barren situations in the Bible, He wanted to do something special here. Generally speaking, apart from miracle pregnancies, I don’t know why certain women are barren. Medically, some of it can be explained by infections or endometriosis scarring off the times. But that doesn’t have to stop God. I don’t have answers for the average barren woman, except that God knows and cares.

    C.  Radioactive verse…Elkanah saying don’t I mean more to you than ten sons? We as women, or is it we as people? Tend to not be satisfied. If we are alone we want a friend. If we have a friend, we want a spouse. If we have a spouse, we want children. If we have children we want more from them or for them. Contentment is hard for us. Contentment with godliness is of great value. God wants me to be content in Him, period.

    1. Mary, your comment regarding our tendency towards being unsatisfied resonated with me. One time I heard a woman who had a wonderful husband, who was a good provider and adored her and their children sobbing with disappointment that he wasn’t comfortable praying out loud and that she had always imagined her husband leading family devotions. Her grief was real, but put in perspective she had been blessed beyond measure in the husband the Lord had provided for her. I took a lesson from that day. It was a place where the Lord showed me the same things operating in my own heart. I can see why godliness plus contentment is great gain, something to strive toward.

  16. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?


    The picture of Hannah, the pain on her face, and the way Peninnah, while brushing her daughter’s hair, is looking over her shoulder at Hannah, being quite aware of what she is doing and the pain she is causing. And I thought, I know the text calls Peninnah Hannah’s “rival”, but….couldn’t she have included Hannah in the lives of her children? Couldn’t she have called Hannah over to help fix her daughter’s hair? Couldn’t she have shared with Hannah what God had graciously given her….perhaps the children could have called her “Aunt Hannah”. And while that wouldn’t have completely taken away the ache in Hannah’s heart, it would have helped some.


    I also liked hearing about how Dee and Annie read the book about prayer together and made the cards. Often I lack the confidence and belief that God really wants to answer my prayers in a specific way. For example, I had prayed specifically that somehow, some way, my older son who is in the Navy would be able to come home for Thanksgiving and to be present at his grandma’s memorial service. The Navy only gives bereavement leave for a parent or sibling. But, it didn’t happen. I just learned though that he has requested leave in January to come home for a few days and it sounds hopeful.


    2. Was there a way Jesus “showed up” for you last week in His quiet way?


    My husband said to me yesterday, speaking about my mom’s death, “I’m kind of surprised….I didn’t think you’d be this strong.”I have had some bad days, and the sadness is always there, and the phrase that one day, everything sad will be untrue takes on new meaning. I told him that it had to be God because way down deep inside, I feel a sense of peace.

    1. Susan, my post sounds a bit Pollyanna after reading your disappointment of your son not being able to get leave and be at home with your family for your Mom’s service and the holiday.   I have have been there as well in years past and my heart aches for you but I know our faithful Heavenly Father has heard your heart and is near even when the answers don’t come as we hoped.  Dee’s encouragement to  look at the character of God is important to give you confidence and strengthen your belief in God.  It is good to hear of the strength and peace you experienced with your Mom’s death.  So sorry for your loss. Prayers for you.

    2. Susan, that’s great that your husband noticed your strength ,& that u were able to say it was God! I’m sure he is observing & taking note, as is my husband. 🙂

  17. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why? 
    This comment stood out to me. “Hannah, David, and Mary all knew the character of God, and you can see it in their prayers.”  We can learn from them a lot about effectual prayer.
    The importance of knowing God’s character is crucial because a wrong view of God will hamper the way I approach Him in prayer.  I personally pray differently when My attitude is one of childlike faith that He is a good good father.  

    2. Was there a way Jesus “showed up” for you last week in His quiet way?
    As I thought about my Thanksgiving week that was 10 days of house guests and lots of meal prep I recognize how Jesus showed up in answer to my prayers often. I made a conscious effort in the early mornings to ask him to take my days and go before me and I tried to lean on Him when it began to overwhelm me. We had 3 different groups of people coming and going  during that time that I had to change bedding and wash towels.  But others would pitch in to help and I have finally learned to simplify more what I do. Life is never perfect but God is amazing.  He really is amazing in how He loves and provides.  Over all I look back and realize what a wonderful time we had together with family and friends.   God in His grace has brought renewal to our relationship with our oldest son and our daughter in law and for the first time in a number of years there was a tension gone and a sweetness of spirit. God can restore “the years that the locusts have eaten”.  They have invited us to be with their family over Christmas in Texas and God willing that is our plan.  I am trusting Jesus to show up in his quiet ways down there too. (-:

    1. Thats wonderful news Bev!

  18. DEE I have a question in your response to Laura.
    “God does not punish believers”
    Is punishment different from discipline or correction?

    1. Good question , Liz. I know He corrects us because He loves us . Is it because we believe in His goodness, His love for us that what the world would think of as punishment we think of as discipline ?

    2. I have struggled a lot with this.  I came to a place of surrender where I decided that I didn’t need to figure out if my circumstances were discipline. If I rest in the knowledge that He loves me, He can do with my life what He chooses, I don’t always need to understand or approve of it. I can’t say my heart rests her all the time, but having been there before, it is easier to find ones way back again. I hope that makes sense.

  19. Thank you!

  20. 2. Was there a way Jesus “showed up” for you last week in His quiet way?

    I’m a day late on this question but I wanted to share. We started to attend a new church closer to home , after 28 years at our former church. So far no one has really ” reached out” in a way that my heart was longing for.  On the way to church I had the thought that maybe I just wouldn’t go to church anymore , and I know we are called to be a part of community. So it was from the enemy but still sounded like a good idea at the time.

    The pastor starts to speak and the message is ” The Importance of Going to Church ” . Really , God ? You planned this weeks ahead because you knew where my heart would be on this Sunday morning? It’s going to take some time to create new relationships but I’m sure that God has a good plan for us in this new place. How could I not believe this now.

    Sometimes I struggle with my own humanness but God is kind to remind me that He understands and as I pray and ask He is Faithful to help me on this journey.


    1. This was a sweet outreach to you from the Lord Sue, he sees you, he knows you need to be connected to him and to others 🙂

      1. Thank you Chris ! He does ! It will take a little time , I know the LORD saw I needed some encouragement, He’s so Good that way .

      1. It was ! I’m waiting for my background check to be done and then I can volunteer in their food bank, hoping to connect some through there 🙂

  21. 3.

    A. What is Hannah’s situation?

    Barrenness.  One of two wives of Elkanah. Experiencer of lots of interpersonal conflict and recipient of constant verbal abuse and psychological torment.

    B. Who closed Hannah’s womb? why?

    The LORD.  He wanted me (and all people) to read this story about His goodness so many years after this happened.  His words and actions through Hannah have brought life to me.

    He closed Hannah’s womb to show her and us His goodness and love, His power and redemptive plan.

    C. Do any verses become radioactive? why?

    vs. 8: “Am I not more to you than ten sons?”

    This verse made me laugh.  Not at Hannah’s pain, but at Elkanah’s perspective of life.  This idea that he might be enough to guarantee her lifelong happiness is both very sweet and very silly.  I would really like to know him better to understand the personality behind these words.  He seems like a unique and fascinating person!


    A. Describe what happened between Hannah and Eli.

    Eli is another man who completely misreads Hannah’s heart.  But this time she speaks up and disagrees with him.  This is an opposite reaction from her apparently-mute obedience to Elkanah. (In vs. 9: She had refused to eat, Elkanah spoke to her, then it says “after they ate”—to me, this means she ate to please Elkanah).

    After Hannah stands up for herself and corrects Eli’s false opinion of her, Eli seems to respond with a trope of standard blessing.  I think he was surprised and just automatically responded with some “priestly words.”  It doesn’t seem like he made any effort to rectify his hurtful assumptions of her or to reach out and offer help.

    Then Hannah hits a home run by telling Eli to “let your servant find favor in your eyes.”  Her response to him is beautiful! She displays humility, respect, forgiveness and gratitude.  She seems genuinely honored by his comment.  She doesn’t seem to struggle with being too sensitive or embittered.  Her identity is not centered inter-personally, but it is determined by her faith.

    B. What does the phrase “and the Lord remembered her” mean?

    This means that the Lord already knew and had planned that Hannah would be Samuel’s Mom a long time ago.  He recognized the fullness of time for this plan and triggered it to start in His earthly timeline.  Hannah was so important to God’s plan!

    It also shows His tenderness and sweet compassion for her as her good father.

    5.  Read 1 Sam. 1:21-28 and share anything that becomes radioactive.

    v. 23: “May the LORD establish his word.”

    Jesus is the word of life. John 1:14.  It’s thrilling to see Elkanah mention a NT name for Jesus without any knowledge of what he was saying!

    This tells me that my words are important too–not because they’ll be in the Bible–but because they matter to the shepherd of my heart and somebody may see Jesus in what I say. This came to mind: MT 12: 35-37. “The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.  I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”  May my words bring forth good today!

    Elkanah’s words of Jesus are really neat.  He seems like a pretty fun and interesting guy!

  22. C. Do any verses become radioactive? If so, why?
    Elkanah gave Hannah a double portion- a sign of his love and favor towards her. “Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons” I almost can hear the hurt in Elkanah’s voice. It is as if he is saying he did not care that Hannah did not have children and it is good enough for him to have Hannah.
    I wonder if Hannah and Elkanah knew that Hannah will not be able to conceive that is why Elkanah had 2 wives?
    4. Read 1 Samuel 1:9-20
    A. Describe what happened between Hannah and Eli.
    Eli thought Hannah was drunk because she was praying earnestly and weeping bitterly. Hannah confessed to what she was doing and Eli sent her off with a blessing.
    B. What do you think the phrase “and the Lord remembered her” means?
    Hannah’s prayer used the word, remember “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”
    So I believe the phrase means the Lord answered her prayer specifically.
    5. Read 1 Samuel 1:21-28 and share anything that becomes radioactive.

    Vs. 27- This was the verse printed on our daughter Ruth Ann’s birth announcement. I had a miscarriage before her birth and another one after her. So this verse carries a special place in my heart. 

  23. 4.  Hannah and Eli… He watched her praying in anguish but thought she was drunk. She explains to him not the content of her prayer, but the state of her soul and how she was bringing that to God. Eli sends her on her way saying “May God grant you your request”….

    ….and the Lord remembered her… I shared here not long ago that Tim Keller points out that God remembering means not that He had forgotten, but that now He takes action. So God remembering Hannah means that it was after the exchange with Eli that God took action on Hannah’s behalf and she became pregnant.


    5.  1 Sam 1:21-28.  Two things stand out. The first is verse 27… I prayed for this child, and now the Alford has granted me what I asked… It stands out to me because at first glance Hannah’s prayer could look self serving, all about what she wanted, to have a child and make the mocking stop. But when you look closer, she wanted a son specifically so she could give him to God for life. In service to God, not in service to herself. It is always amazing to me how her husband readily agrees to it!

    Then in the last phrase of verse 28… And he (Samuel) worshipped the Lord there. I take it to mean that Samuel worshiped God there in Shiloh. But thinking more on it, it is really amazing. A young boy gets left by his mother with an old priest and the priest’s family. Eli’s sons were terribly immoral, not even respecting the Lord, let alone worshipping Him. So how did Samuel learn to worship? And how did he persist in the face of such blatant non worship?


    Dee’s comments on God giving us the exact children we need, or who need us, made me think and remember. I always wanted a son, and felt an empty place filled when our son was born. But he was difficult to raise. A friend said once that she could see that we were the right parents for him, and that it was for the best that he was ours. It felt very shocking, yet also very affirming. And now, he is in the throes of raising his own difficult children, having been prepared by God for this.

  24. 3. Read 1 Samuel 1:1-8
    A. What is Hannah’s situation?

    She is barren and cannot have children but her husband’s other wife Peninnah has given birth to many children. 

    B. Who closed Hannah’s womb? Why, do you think?

    Verse 5 says the Lord had closed her womb. Why is a hard question and I don’t want to make trite assumptions. No doubt it was a trial God was allowing in her life and in Elkanah’s too. And it did result in God being glorified. I am impressed that it was their practice to go up to the temple regularly and worship God.  And that Hannah poured her heart out in prayer. I think there were deep personal purposes in her relationship with God and as a result of prayer she came to trust Him in a rich and meaningful way. 

    C. Do any verses become radioactive? If so, why?

    Peninnah throws it in Hannah’s face that she has a closed womb.  I noticed the Scripture said “year after year as often as they went up to the house of the Lord “  that seemed to be when Peninnah would pour it on to provoke Hannah and irritate her that she couldn’t have children. That was after it explained Elkanah their husband would give portions of the sacrifice to Peninnah and her children but he would give double to Hannah because he loved her even though the Lord had closed her womb. It speaks of great jealousy on Peninnah’s  part since she treated Hannah so spitefully at a time of special worship. Hannah couldn’t even go up to the Temple and enjoy a spiritually meaningful time because of Peninnah’s harassment.  

    4. Read 1 Samuel 1:9-20
    A. Describe what happened 
    between Hannah and Eli.

    Eli observed Hannah as she prayed to God pouring out her heart and he thought she was drunk.  In response to his chastising her she makes her case that she was praying and expressing the anxiety and vexation of her soul to God.  When he realized her real situation he affirmed her to be at peace and that God would grant her request.  She believed and returned home trusting God to answer.  

    B. What do you think the phrase “and the Lord remembered her” means?

    Just that. He remembered her prayers and her request for a son. Her time at the Temple pouring her heart out to Him. 
    And in remembering He answered.  
    God never forgets any prayer prayed from the heart or any request brought to Him that is in his will. My close friend and prayer partner of almost 30 years and I are still trusting God to answer some prayers of long ago. We know He hasn’t forgotten a one of them.  

    5. Read 1 Samuel 1:21-28 and share anything that becomes radioactive.

    Verse 28 says “Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.”
    This is so backwards to me. We think of God as lending our children to us until they grow up to be about 18 or so.  But here Hannah at a very tender age possibly 3 to 4 years old is lending her first born son to God. Literally giving him to God.  God was central in her relationship to Samuel. She truly understood the gift he was. But I can’t imagine how hard this would be on a mother’s heart.  

  25. 4. Read 1 Samuel 1:9-20 
    A. Describe what happened between Hannah and Eli.

    Hannah prayed and Eli (a priest) saw her and thought she was drunk. She explained she was not; she was praying because she was anxious about her condition. Eli blessed her and she went away more calm than she had been.

    B. What do you think the phrase “and the Lord remembered her” means?

    The Lord made sure Hannah conceived when she and her husband laid together again.

  26. What is Hannah’s situation?

    She is married to a man who feared God and loved her, but made to feel shame and grief because of her husbands other wife who had children. The  words ‘Hannah had no children’ are so very loaded. 

    B. Who closed Hannah’s womb? Why, do you think?
    This is hard, but the Lord had closed her womb.
    The why’s – it did change Hannahs heart, her pain drove her to rely on God in a way that changed her and glorified Him.

    C. Do any verses become radioactive? If so, why?

    “Hannah had no children” in her culture the status of a women was based on having children, she would have been deemed worth next to nothing as a childless woman.  Culturally speaking she would have been a zero.
    It was probably next to impossible to keep children from being an idol of the heart for women in that day.

    1. That’s a really good point Chris about probably next to impossible to keep children from becoming an idol of the heart.  I think that is still a problem today.

  27. A. Describe what happened between Hannah and Eli.

    Hannah went near to the temple, beside herself she was weeping and crying out to the Lord. Eli observing her thought her drunk and reproached her. She explained that she was not drunk but terribly distraught-pouring out her soul to the Lord. Eli gave her a  blessing of sorts, Hannah went away relieved, able to eat, no longer feeling so sad.

    B. What do you think the phrase “and the Lord remembered her” means?

    I was thinking about the contrast between what the Lord remembers and what he does not. When He remembers and brings a person to the fore, when He remembers them, it is to show them mercy, when he does not remember, removing our sin as far from us as east to west, it is also to show us mercy.
    I found this really moving.

    Micah 7
    18 “Who is a God like You, Who forgives iniquity and passes over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retains not His anger forever, because He delights in mercy and loving-kindness.

    19 He will again have compassion on us; He will subdue and tread underfoot our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea”

    1. I was blessed by your answer today, Chris….What He remembers and what He forgets….  His thoughts are so wonderful—to think He intentionally acts to forget our sins!  What a creative and good God He is!  Thank you!

  28. 5. Read 1 Samuel 1:21-28 and share anything that becomes radioactive.

    “27 For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted my petition made to Him.
    28 Therefore I have given him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is given to the Lord. And they worshiped the Lord there.”

    I have always found this passage to be profound, it was no different this morning. 
    That Hannah did not make an idol of Samuel, this longed for child, she knew he was a gift, instead of fixing her hope on Samuel, Samuels very existence fixed Hannah’s hope on God. Her faith humbles me so much.

  29. 3. Read 1 Samuel 1:1-8
    A. What is Hannah’s situation?
    She is barren but her husband’s favorite who he loved most.  Her husband’s other wife has children and she provoked Hannah bitterly on purpose to irritate her.
    B. Who closed Hannah’s womb? Why, do you think?
    God. Because He had something far greater ahead for her than if she would have not been barren. I think this is her training ground to get her ready for His amazing blessing ahead. (Samuel)
    C. Do any verses become radioactive? If so, why?
    Verse 8.  OH MY..This not only became radioactive but brought me to tears for I haven’t felt like I have been hearing him when I get in the word lately. He gave me Psalm 135 as a warning a few weeks ago-it wasn’t the comfort I wanted yet it was a necessary warning that those who trust in idols become like them-dead inside. I wrestled with Him for I was looking at someone elses idol and not my own, albeit mine fleshed itself out different-comfort/security. But HE JUST CAME TO ME in verse 8. :))) “Hannah (Rebecca), why do you weep and why do you not eat and why is your heart sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?”  Oh.


  30. Rebecca, that is beautiful! I was also reminded that He wants to be enough & more than enough for me. “Am I not better to you than……..” fill in the blank.

    3).A.Hannah is one of 2 wives to her husband. She is infertile & the other wife has many children, & provokes her. How doubly painful!!

    B. God closed Hannah’s womb; probably so His glory would show up all the more in the fullness of time…Reminds me of “For such a time as this”. God had prepared Hannah to bear Samuel in His timing & His way. How like God, & how we need to trust His plan.

    C. “so it was year after year…”   Hannah lived with disappointment for many yrs, but she continued to have hope & cry out to the Lord. So must I, for my marriage & my children, that in Gods perfect way & perfect timing, they will come to a knowledge of Him & He will be glorified all the more!

    4).A.  Eli thought Hannah was drunk as she wept & prayed to the Lord. She explained her heart & then he blessed her, & she left in peace & hope.

    B. “and the Lord remembered her”…..He was faithful to fulfill His promise to her. He has stored up her prayers, her cries & her tears, & His perfect time to reveal His answer had come. YES LORD!

    5). Hannah didn’t keep Samuel to herself. She could’ve rationalized that after all those years God had given her a son, & she needed him to keep & enjoy. But she was faithful to her promise to the Lord, & trusted God with the life of her little son. She dedicated him with surrender, faith & worship. Wow, I don’t think I could’ve given him up, but what a role model Hannah was!



  31. Tues; Hannah’s prayer.

    I read this a couple of weeks ago & was so blessed by it! Now here it is again  🙂

    6). A. I think that Hannah’s prayer was definitely prophetic, but I also think that she knew that in her wretched & lowly state, God had heard her & blessed her. That He rewards those who seek Him, & He blesses the humble.

    B. Ragamuffin Gospel; I would say that “by strength shall no man prevail”, but only in the Lord Almighty. He is Sovereign & His plans alone shall prevail. He regards & raises up the lowly ones, & He casts down His enemies &  the proud.

    7). Was there a way God showed up for me in His quiet way in last 2 days? 2 strangers stopped me out of the blue on different days & said  “you have a great smile!” It took me by surprise & made me smile all the more! haha

  32. Radioactive

    This man went up from his city yearly to worship and sacrifice to the Lord …. he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters.  But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah.


    This is one of the very few Advent seasons in my entire life that hasn’t been impacted (controlled!) by an academic calendar.  I have been thinking more seriously about rhythms and the church calendar.  Hard to articulate but this shows me that rhythms/seasons are a gift from God (just remembered I have to shovel snow 🙂 ).  I also see Elkanah’s generosity and how he showed his love to Hannah by giving her twice as much as others received.  Pondering the connection between this and giving gifts at Christmas.

    Something else stood out to me because I read the passage on Bible Gateway.  I glanced to the left and saw an ad for a Duck Commander Bible. Huh??  I can’t even imagine — shaking my head — except maybe giving it as sort of a practical joke to a fan.

  33. 6. Read 1 Samuel 2: 1-10.

    A. What do you think was in Hannah’s mind when she prays as she does in verse 1-5?

    She is speaking out-loud.  The last time she talked to God in the temple she quietly “spoke in  her heart.” She has come alive!

    She’s thinking about how the world we see around us is not the true reality of our lives.  She points to God’s salvation as her        reason for rejoicing.  How can she know about Jesus?

    She says God is alone in His holiness-none like Him.  But she says He is a rock to her-none beside Him.  The Holy One in personal relationship with a broken, ridiculed woman!

    This is all very exciting!

    Hannah’s words describe the “bows of the mighty broken” and “she who has many children is forlorn.” It seems that she’s talking about Penninah here.  But I think the Hannah who responded with such humility to Eli wouldn’t be stomping around shouting like a vindictive braggadocio.  She isn’t reflecting arrogant behavior back to Penninah here.  Hannah’s describing a whole system of life that was unknown to her before.  It’s an economy based on God’s holiness and goodness.  It’s a place where she has value and worth.  She can only use her experiences to describe what she sees, so on the surface it might appear like she could be trash-talking Penninah.  But what she’s really talking about is that the chains of her own fear, shame and sin are broken!  She’s no longer the worthless, derided one and it wasn’t Samuel’s birth that made the reversal of her life.  She wants everyone listening to understand the amazing God she has come to know!

    B. Brennan Manning called the gospel the “ragamuffin gospel.” How do you see Hannah saying the same in verses 6-10?

    Ragamuffin: “a person, typically a child, in ragged, dirty clothes.” Google Dictionary.

    “The Lord raises up the poor from the dust, he lifts the needy from the ash heap . . . to inherit a place of honor”

    Hannah’s words seem to be a direct description of Manning’s ragamuffin idea.

    7.  Was there a way God showed up for you in His quiet way in the last 2 days?

    It’s hard to pin down just what to share.  Jesus is my sweet shepherd and He really knows my heart.  I was driving around yesterday feeling anxious and stressed about many things.  I didn’t want to “bother” Him with my problems—it’s a wicked, ridiculous thought. But a lady at one place was talking about her son and in my heart I heart his voice say,  “You’re my precious daughter.  I want to carry these things for you.”  I hate that about myself–that I would rather do things and manage things because I want control and because I tell myself lies about Him.

    But that’s exactly why He came and gave up everything to die for me.  It was a small interaction with Him, but my heart was changed in it as I responded in repentance to Him.  I’m so grateful for His light that is never extinguished in my heart—–and His strong presence of love in my brokenness!

  34. 6.  Hannah’s thoughts in vs 1-5…. A combination of pure praise, plus feeling a victory over the other wife. “She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many children pines away”. This is a curious verse to me. Seven is the number of perfection, so is she prophetic about Samuel being a man of God? Is she saying that Samuel will mean more to the Lord than all her rivals children put together? Is Hannah asking to have six more children? She does end up bearing a total of six, but not seven. Lots of wondering here!


    Ragamuffin gospel…Hannah talks about God choosing for Himself the poor, the needy. That He is not looking for those the world would choose, but in my mind, those in whom He can fan the spark of responsiveness to Him.


    7.  God showed up in a practice mentoring session, and also at work when a co worker, a believer, started complaining and saying she definitely was not in her happy spot. I was very conscious of God saying that the way I responded to her could be an informal mentoring, and that He wants to use every word that comes out of my mouth.

  35. Thank you all for your kind words regarding my marriage. I feel I have been on this journey here and was happy to share. I dId not share my husband too just got a rather serious health diagnosis that has come on very suddenly and is concerning. I cannot help but feel this is God moving. Where there is a severe shortness of breath I am praying Holy Spirit Please breathe in the BREATH of LIFE. I am trusting and believing HE WILL. Such expectancy.

  36. Thank you for the responses to my punishment vs discipline question. I guess I was also thinking of David when the Lord gave him 3 choices of what I looked at as punishment he got to choose and He left it to the Lord to decide. Was this because it was Old Testament vs New. I so know it can be a religious default. I Know I can be very hard on myself as it is.
    Tonight my husband said maybe this sickness is a punishment for being so bad. I wanted to cry that He feels that way.
    I look at the sickness as a opportunity for my husband to see a need of a Savior.
    He is already surprised at how much I want to help him thru this.
    Lord please use this for Your Glory. Thank you for what you are already doing inside of me.
    Sorry to be off track from this study.

  37. SUSAN for some reason my replys are not going where intended. I am sorry to hear of the loss of your Mother! This is one of the things I know I may miss important life events when I do not read all the time as I just cannot keep up but so glad to catch that. I know it has been a long journey and so much care for your Mother. I am glad your husband is seeing Gods strength in you during this very difficult time. Grace upon Grace and May His Joy continue to be your strength.

    1. Thank you so much, Liz. Some days I don’t feel very strong at all. I miss my mom. I’m sorry to read of your husband’s health but will pray that he will turn his heart towards the Lord. How wonderful that you are standing with him in this!

  38. 6. Read 1 Samuel 2:1-10
    A. What do you think was in Hannah’s mind when she prays as she does in verses 1-5?

    It would seem her rival Peninnah was being addressed and the harassment of the past had been silenced by the wonderful work of God in Hannah’s life in opening her womb and giving her and Elkanah a son.   She just couldn’t praise God enough. 

    B. Brennan Manning called the gospel the “ragamuffin gospel.” How do you see Hannah saying the same in verses 6-10?

    God is the great equalizer in that He brings down the high and mighty and he doesn’t forget the lowly people but raises them up.  Grace and mercy abound with God. 

    7. Was there a way God showed up for you in His quiet way in the last 2 days?

    Today I was shopping and in and out of a lot of stores.  I was trying on some clothes and had noticed the music playing in the background was a secular country song with it’s typical themes.  But a few minutes later it changed and a contemporary Christian song was playing singing about the holy Jesus that was born.  I thought there He is.  It’s Christmas and the World just can’t not exclude Him. 

  39. Question 3 B God closed Hannah’s womb.

    Why do you think? Now this may be wierd to think but when her husband asked her the question am I not better to you than 10 sons?
    I guess I could not help but think of the Lord saying to us ” Am I not better to you than all the other things you are longing for???

    I know myself I put my children in front of my husband which was wrong.

  40. I cannot help but think of How Hannah worshiped in vs 19 and returned to their house at Ramah

    A scripture so comes to my mind of Rachel crying from Ramah for her children Jeremiah 31:15-16
    It is a scripture I stand on for my children.

    Both women weeping for children and how the Lord sees our pain hears our cries and answers our calls.

  41. 8.  How do you think Elizabeth’s prayer impacted Mary’s song?  I think it was the tipping point, opening the gate so that she could express some of what she’d been thinking and feeling since being visited by Gabriel. Elizabeth was affirming the thoughts and feelings of Mary. It nourished Mary and helped bring her song out.


    9.  Similarities between Hannah’s prayer and Mary’s song?  They both start with pure praise, thanking God for His hand in their particular situation. They both say God has exalted them. They both liken God to a victorious warrior. The first verses of each are nearly identical. They both talk of scattering the proud and how God has lifted the humble. They both end with talking of God being faithful to Israel.

    Luke… His mercy extends to those who fear Him from generation to generation. To me that means that a godly influence can keep rolling down the years. Especially as you talk about it, Dee, in our prayers for those to come. Sarah Groves has a song that talks about how our choices make a difference to even our great, great, great, great grandchildren. Think of Eve. As I write this, I also think about those who are not your children that you influence. In my distant past, there was a woman who taught Sunday School, whose face and name I do not know. But she influenced me for Christ, and how many others? And all of those children, including me, have influenced more people. I think of my daughter, working with Child Evangelism Fellowship, and even though she is single, all the children she is influencing for the future.

  42. 4. Read 1 Samuel 1:9-20
    A. Describe what happened between Hannah and Eli.
    She was praying fervently out of an oppressed spirit and he thought she was drunk until she answered him and he understood. Since he is a priest he sees everyone who goes in I am thinking this was unusual to him. This reminds me of Pentecost in Acts when the Holy Spirit came on them and some who observed thought they were drunk. Not sure if there is a connection but it looks like in verse 12 she continued to pray. Maybe she was becoming more fervent as His Spirit was interceding for her, but more than that I so see relationship here-that she didn’t stop with her request.
    B. What do you think the phrase “and the Lord remembered her” means?
    I am not sure other than He remembered her and answered her prayer-but maybe there is more here in the remembering? Makes me wonder for He doesn’t just casually remember us and especially so when our hearts are broken and oppressed by the evil one and hers was, yet instead of backing away she drew near and trusted His character and as Dee said she trusted that He loves to give but will do what is best for us. I have seen many godly women who have fervently prayed lose a child, or remain barren, or have their prayers for healing from a horrific illness with their child go unanswered, and that certainly doesn’t mean He didn’t remember them in their groans and desperate cries. There have been times I wondered why my two boys have to suffer with Autism-where is the blessing, where is the remembering when I cried out all these years, and then they turn from Him-even more painful. Though I know His word won’t come back void but do I really trust His Character? Can I have a heart like Hannah? A heart like His. Hannah reminds me of Jesus praying in the garden. Yet her prayer was answered, but God said no to Jesus and He drank that bitter cup for us-oh.  I am seeing a blessing here in Him remembering her and the depth of intimacy she gets to experience with Him because of Him.  Even in His answers of wait and no-while we are suffering- we can experience the joy of intimacy.  Sorry for pondering/wrestling with this here-It’s most likely more simple and I am reading between the lines, but it SO helps me to process here with you and Him.

    1. More wrestling with my question above-So my answer is YES..I can have a heart like Hannahs for His Spirit is inside me! I heard a sermon from Keller the other day and he said growth is invisible-it is organic and so if we see any fruit (love, joy, peace,  patience, kindness, longsuffering, etc.) He is growing us and making us more like Him. So while growth is invisible, and it is, we should be able to look back and say, yes I do see some change in being patient for my response is so different than it was 5 years ago. A heart yielding to Him as Hannah did-oh how He can give us wings.

    A. What do you think was in Hannah’s mind when she prays as she does in verses 1-5?
    She is exalting God, relishing His character and rescue of her.
    One would imagine regarding the emery that she meant Penniah at first blush, but I wonder if she had looked past Penniah and realized that the real enemy whom the Lord has put in his place in her life was Satan.


    8.  How do you think Elizabeth’s prophetic prayer impacted Mary’s Magnificat?

    Elizabeth’s prophetic prayer was the spark that lit the fire of Mary’s Magnificat.


    9. Read Luke 1:46-55.

    A. What similarities do you see between Hannah’s prayer and Mary’s Magnificat?

    I was thinking about this when I was reading Hannah’s prayer yesterday–They’re practically identical!    Ragamuffin focus, salvation emphasis, God’s holiness incomprehensibly within the hearts of both speakers.  Gorgeous!

    Both prayers have an element of decrying the previous oppressors.  I think Chris Swan’s point about real enemies is important here.  These women experienced the lifting of tremendous burdens and when they proclaimed their joy it was communicated through a discussion of social oppression (as that was the particular area of their burdening).  I know Jesus is glorified by their words and faith, but He’s also glorified when Penninnah chooses to look to Him for salvation–a story we don’t hear.  He loves all the people who were oppressing Elizabeth and Zacheriah just as much, too.  Our enemies in life are not people, as Chris pointed out, but the unseen enemy.

    Although to me, these descriptions are very helpful for processing my own feelings of anger, rejection, pain sometimes because this brokenness is also reality and I am encouraged to bring my social oppression issues to God just like these Godly women.  But I really think, on any given day, I could just as easily be similar to Penninnah and Elizabeth/Mary’s oppressors as I am, only in Christ, to Hannah, Elizabeth, and Mary.  There is no outsider-insider mentality in the scope of God’s redemptive plan.

    1 Tim. 2:1-4 “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

    B. What does Luke 1:50 mean to you?

    Luke 1:50 means that God chooses to expand His kingdom of mercy through relationships, particularly family relationships.  In the same way that Elizabeth’s faith impacted Mary’s faith, God is telling us that he especially shepherds the faith relationships between older and younger people within families.  This brings Him glory!

    What a fun and precious picture, Dee!  Thanks for sharing!



  45. Looking back and forth between I Samuel & Luke:  I noticed that both Hannah and Mary were favored, Hannah by her husband, Mary by God.  Pondering the relevance of this.

    ????  Luke 1:48b  “For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed”    Although this sounds sort of descriptive rather than a command, referring to Mary as “blessed” as dropped off in the Protestant church, except maybe during Advent or Christmas when this passage is used.   When did this change/why don’t we do this more? (this is a historical/theological question, not a rhetorical one!)

    At the beginning of the week, I listened to a bunch of Magnificat songs.  This is one of my favorites: Holy is His Name, John Michael Talbot.

  46. I remember several years ago during Lent when Anne posted the song Holy Darkness.  I listened to it many times then.  It just popped up in YouTube for me now, sung by John Michael Talbot (I didn’t know he sang it).  It strikes me that the lyrics also are appropriate for Advent, and the barrenness referenced in the song corresponds with Hannah and Elizabeth, too.

  47. Laura-no more room to reply above, but as I’ve only had time lately to ponder the questions and scan a few answers…I just felt the need to tell you again how MUCH He uses you here. I don’t know if you have any idea how valuable your questions, your “out-loud” pondering, your uncertainties that lead you to ask more great questions!…all of it He uses to help all of us think more deeply and refine His truth in our minds and hearts. Just felt really thankful for you here and wanted to tell you that.

    1. Lizzy, how sweet you are! Although a Christian nearly my entire life, I have only truly studied the Bible for about 10 years now. Most of my questions are really out of ignorance, I’m sad to say 😔. I learn so much from the well versed women (including you sweet sister), and my favorite part of the blog is when I have time to go back at the end of the week and read everyone’s comments about all the questions. Most of the time I only get to read some of the responses. Everyone has such interesting input and I learn so much! Thanks for your encouraging words.