God Answers Hannah’s Prayer


9_God Answers Hannahs PrayerScripture Reference: 1 Samuel 1:1-20

Suggested Emphasis: Pray because the Lord hears your prayers.

Memory Verse: “Never stop praying.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17, ICB

Story Overview:

Elkanah had two wives, Peninnah and Hannah. Peninnah taunted Hannah because Hannah had no children. When Hannah accompanied Elkanah to the Tabernacle, she prayed and wept near the entrance. In her prayer, she promised the Lord that if He would give her a son then she would give that son to Him all the days of her life. Hannah’s prayer was so intense that the High Priest, Eli, saw her and thought she was drunk. Hannah’s prayer was answered and she gave birth to a son. His name was Samuel.

Background Study:

Click here for The Book of Judges: The Big Picture

Samuel came on the scene at the end of this time period. He was the last judge.

Samuel’s story begins in the hill country of Ephraim (EE-fray-m) at a place called Ranathaim (RAY-mah-THAY-m), near Shiloh. A man named Elkanah had two wives, which was a common practice in early Bible times. In those days polygamy was tolerated under the Law of Moses (Deuteronomy 21:15-17). However, it was not God’s original intention, for as Jesus taught, it could cause great misery (Matthew 19:3-8).

In the case of Elkanah’s two wives, things were indeed miserable. Their names were Hannah and Peninnah. Only Peninnah had children.” Peninnah provoked Hannah because of her childlessness. Perhaps Peninnah was jealous of the special attention that Elkanah lavished on Hannah.

This was the cause of much trouble and rivalry between the two women. Because children are a blessing from God, the absence of children was sometimes considered a punishment for sin. Peninnah may have suggested this possibility and used it to hurt Hannah since she was jealous of Hannah.

Three times a year every Israelite male was required to appear before the Lord at the central sanctuary (Deuteronomy 16:16-17). They were supposed to offer sacrifices to the Lord. Once each year, it seems as if the whole family attended. At those times Elkanah always gave a portion of meat to Peninnah and her children to offer as a sacrifice. Because of his love for Hannah, Elkanah gave her a double portion.

While attending a feast in Shiloh, the religious centre of the nation at that time, Hannah left the feasting to pray at the Tabernacle. Her prayers were honest, and she told God of her anguish over her childlessness. The desire of her heart was stated simply, but her distress was evident.

Hannah vowed that, if the Lord would give her a son, she would dedicate him to the Lord’s service (1 Samuel 1:11). Then she prayed, “May your servant find favour in your eyes” (1 Samuel 1:18). Hannah was so intense in prayer and so focused on the Lord, that she was oblivious to those around her.

The priest, Eli, observed Hannah moving her lips without sound and jumped to the incorrect conclusion that she was drunk. He immediately reprimanded her for being drunk at the Tabernacle. Hannah explained that she was not drunk but was praying in this manner because of her sorrow. When Hannah told him of the longing in her heart, she received his blessing.

After she and her husband returned home, Hannah conceived and a son was born. Hannah named her son Samuel, which means “asked of God” (1 Samuel 1:20).

For more about Samuel see Samuel Becomes a Helper in the Tabernacle
and The Lord Speaks to Samuel.

Way to Introduce the Story:

Discuss any aspect of prayer. The times that you have prayed; specific requests you or someone you know has made. If you have a church bulletin, see if there are any prayer requests in it. Discuss prayer posture (you can pray lying down, standing up, kneeling, etc. Ask the children what they pray for. “In today’s story, we are going to learn about a woman that prayed for something she wanted very much!”

The Story:

Each year Elkanah and his family travelled to the city of Shiloh to offer sacrifices to the Lord. Elkanah always offered sacrifices and then gave his family meat to offer as sacrifices too. Elkanah had two wives. He would always give his first wife, Peninnah, enough portions of the sacrifice meat for her and her children. Then Elkanah would give twice as much sacrifice meat to his other wife, Hannah. That was because he loved Hannah very much and he knew that she was sad because she did not have any children.

Hannah really was sad. She had wanted to have a baby for a long time. Peninnah sometimes teased her and made her feel even sadder. Once, when she was in Shiloh with Elkanah, Hannah wanted to be alone to pray to the Lord. She went to the entrance of the tabernacle tent. She didn’t see anyone around, so she began to pray. She just talked to God and told Him how she was feeling. Hannah told Him all about how sad she was. She told him how bad she felt when Peninnah picked on her. Then she told the Lord how much she wanted a baby.

“Lord, if you will give me a son then I will promise to give him back to you so he can be a helper to you.”

Hannah was praying so hard that she was crying. Her lips were moving but no one could hear her because she was not praying out loud.

Hannah thought she was all alone but she was not. The High Priest, Eli, was sitting beside one of the poles of the Tabernacle tent. When Eli saw her crying and moving her lips, he did not know she was praying. He thought she was drunk!

“How long will you keep getting drunk? You need to stop drinking wine!” Eli said to Hannah.

“Oh, no. I am not drunk! I was just praying to the Lord. Maybe I looked drunk because I am so upset,” replied Hannah.

Eli saw what she said was true. “I am sorry, I did not know you were praying,” Eli apologized. “I am the High Priest. I know that the Lord will listen to your prayers. I will pray too. May the Lord give you whatever you are asking for.”

After this Hannah felt better. She and Elkanah travelled back home. Later that year, Hannah had a beautiful little baby boy. Hannah knew that the Lord had heard her prayer. Hannah and Elkanah named their little baby Samuel, which means “asked of the Lord.” Hannah also remembered the promise she had made to the Lord. She knew that when Samuel was old enough, she would have to make sure that he became a helper to the Lord.

Ways to Tell the Story:

This story can be told using a variety of methods. Always remain true to the facts found in the Bible but help children connect to its meaning by using drama, visual aids, voice inflection, student interaction and/or emotion.
Click here for visual aids and story-telling methods.

Click here to download these illustrations and slideshow. Be selective. Each teacher is unique, so only use the illustrations that best relate to how YOU tell the story in THIS lesson. Too many illustrations can be confusing, so eliminate any that cover other stories or details you do not wish to emphasise in this lesson.

Review Questions:

  1. What were the names of Elkanah’s two wives? Peninnah and Hannah
  2. Why was Hannah sad? Hannah had no children but Peninnah did. Peninnah teased Hannah.
  3. When Hannah was crying and praying quietly, what did Eli think? He thought she was drunk
  4. What did Hannah promise the Lord? If she had a son, she would give him back to the Lord as a helper.

Song Suggestions:

Learning Activities and Crafts:

(How to choose the best learning activities for my teaching situation)


  • Use this simple Judges Review Wheel to explain the cycle of the Judges. Printable instructions for Judges Review Wheel.
  • See Prayer in Bible Class for Ideas
  • Write the word “Prayer” on the chalkboard/whiteboard. Then write “who? what? when? where? why?” As you call out a word (who? what? when? …) gently throw a bean bag (or any soft object) to a child. When the child catches the bag then they need to give an example of the word you called out. Example: say “where?” and throw the bag. The child catches it and answers: “at home.” That child says “when?” and throws the bag. The next child catches it and the game continues. Encourage the children to throw to children who haven’t had a turn.
  • Have a chain prayer.
  • Use a puppet to tell the story from Hannah’s point of view.
  • You could use a cloth to make a head covering and tell the story as if you were Hannah. You could do the same thing as any of the characters in the story.


  • Make a shoebox diorama. Samuel Box- (Covering 3 Samuel lessons) Picture of mum and baby, baby items, sewing items, little coat, tabernacle pictures or model, picture of sleeping boy, pillow and blanket . . .

Check the Teaching Ideas page on this website for ideas that are adaptable to any lesson.

Link to full list of printablesClick here for “God Answers Hannah’s Prayer” printables to print (A4 paper)
Click here for “God Answers Hannah’s Prayer” to print (Letter size-USA)


Other Online Resources:


God Answers Hannah_s Prayer Pin

2 thoughts on “God Answers Hannah’s Prayer

  1. Here is another hands-on idea that works well for very young children: Make a play dough pancake and bring plastic bottle lids with facial features drawn on them in permanent marker (or anything that won’t rub off). You will need two sets of eyes (one open and one closed), one nose, one sad open mouth, and one smiling mouth. As you tell the story, arrange Hannah’s facial expressions on the play dough pancake. First use the closed eyes and open mouth. Then replace them with the open eyes and happy mouth. Let the children manipulate the bottle lids and retell the story. You can also add tears made out of play dough, hair, etc. You can create as many of the story characters with as many expressions as you want. Eli could have a disgruntled expression then a surprised or kind face.

    1. Laura
      What a great idea that could be adapted for any story! The bottle lid idea is a great way to recycle. Thanks for sharing your ideas with the rest of us.

      I’ve also done something similar using fruits and veges for the facial features.

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