Hannah prayed for a child and God answered. He provided a son in Samuel. I find that I’m often quick to ask God for something, but not quite so diligent in offering praise when He answers (especially when the answer is not what I expect). Hannah not only prays, but also gives thanks to the Lord for His response to her prayers (1 Samuel 2:1-10).
I’m not under any pretense that God always answers our prayers in the way we expect. His ways are higher than our ways. In 1 Samuel 1, we see a godly woman pouring out her heart to God for a child. Hannah was deeply distressed by her childless state. She prayed fervently and God heard her prayer. In this case, God granted her request in the form of a son. Hannah named this precious gift from the Lord, Samuel, which means, “Because I asked the Lord for him.” As we read in James 5:16, the prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.
I'm impressed by the example of Samuel’s parents, Elkanah and Hannah, in 1 Samuel 1. Year after year, Elkanah worshipped the Lord and made sacrifices to Him at the Tent of Meeting in Shiloh. During one of their visits to Shiloh, Hannah poured out her heart to the Lord because of her inability to have children. The priest, Eli, presumed she was drunk because of her obvious distress. The Lord heard the prayer of this praying woman and gave her a son. She named him, Samuel, which means, “Because I asked the Lord for him.”
Of course, not all of the characters in 1 Samuel were outstanding parents. The Lord rebuked Eli for his inability to restrain his sons who were committing wicked acts as a part of their priestly service. Even though Eli was a religious leader, he apparently failed to lead his family well. This contrast between Samuel’s parents and Eli provides an important reminder that godly, servant leaders exercise good leadership in the home. Perhaps this is why one of the requirements of elders/overseers in the church is that they have believing children who are not wild and disobedient (Titus 1:6).