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Hannah’s Second Prayer
Questions to Consider
1. Briefly review lesson 2 (link above) to refresh your memory on the background and context of Hannah’s second prayer. Explain the events that led up to Hannah’s second prayer.
2. Compare Hannah’s second prayer with her first prayer in chapter 1 (lesson 2). What was the purpose of each of these prayers? Does the second prayer open the same way the first one did? Does it sound like one prayer is more private and the other is more public? How can you tell? Compare the length of the two prayers. How might the circumstances that led to each of these prayers have affected the length and the eloquence of each prayer? Think about the way you tend to pray, and the kind of phraseology you use when you’re praying privately in a time of desperate need versus praying publicly in a time of worship. How are your prayers different in these situations? Why?
3. Think about the components that typically make up our prayers today: praise, confession of sin, intercession, petition, etc. Which component is most prominent in Hannah’s second prayer? Which components are missing? Do the components we include or the components Hannah’s prayer is missing mean that we are praying wrong (or right), or that she was praying wrong (or right)? Why? Do we have to pray the same way, including the same components, every single time we pray?
4. While Hannah’s first prayer was a prayer of petition (asking God to provide for a need), her second prayer is a prayer of praise/exaltation and the proclamation of God’s attributes. Read through each verse of Hannah’s second prayer and make a list of each of the attributes of God (justice, mercy, sovereignty, compassion, etc.) she highlights, and the words she uses to do so. (Ex: 2- Holiness. “There is none holy like the Lord.”) Which of God’s attributes does this prayer focus on the most? Have you ever prayed a prayer like this that simply exalts the attributes of God?
5. Notice the words “but” and “and” in verses 4-7 and how the literary form of contrast is used in these verses (“The Lord does A BUT/AND does Z.”) How does this help drive home the point Hannah is making? Which attribute(s) of God does this format focus on? What do these contrasts tell us about the relationship between God and people?
6. Carefully examine verses 9-10, and think about the various genres of Scripture: historical narrative, wisdom literature, prophecy, poetry, didactic, apocalyptic, etc. Which category do 9-10 seem to fit into best? (Hint: At the time Hannah is saying this, has the Lord “judged the ends of the earth” yet? Does Israel have a “king” yet?)
7. Compare verses 1 and 10. Which phrase/imagery is used in both verses to “bookend” Hannah’s prayer? What does “my/his horn is exalted” mean (try to figure it out using your cross-references before clicking this link)? Who is “his king” and “his anointed” in verse 10? How does Hannah’s exalted “horn” of a miraculous conception and a first born son who is wholly dedicated to the Lord as a “priest“, prophet, and judge, point ahead to Christ, whose horn will ultimately be exalted? When you pray aloud with others, do your prayers exalt Christ and point people to Him?
•Put yourself in Hannah’s shoes in 1 Samuel 1. Imagine you’re at the house of the Lord worshiping Him for all He has done for you, and dropping off your child for the rest of his life. Write out what you would pray in that situation. Compare your prayer to Hannah’s second prayer. What are the similarities and differences, and what do you think are the reasons for those similarities and differences?
•This week, take some time each day to pray, simply focusing on the attributes of God.
Suggested Memory Verse
(Every week of our study, you’ll see a suggested memory verse like the one above. You are welcome to grab the memory verse pic to use as your screensaver or wallpaper on your phone or computer, print it out and stick it somewhere you’ll see it frequently, or use it in any other way you wish to help you memorize the verse.)