TEXT: 1 Samuel 1:9-28; 2:18-21
Hannah wanted a baby more than anything in the world. Year after year she would pray for a baby, but no baby was born. This made her very sad. Her husband Elkanah loved her very much. He tried to cheer her up but Hannah couldn't be happy without a baby to love. In fact, she was so sad that she just cried and cried. Poor Hannah.
One day Hannah went to the Temple to pray. She made a very special promise to God. She told God that if He would give her a son she would give the child back to Him for all the days of his life.
A priest named Eli saw Hannah praying. He could see her mouth moving but he couldn't hear any of the words she was saying to God. So he went over and began to talk to her. She told him she was very sad and had been praying a special prayer to God.
Eli told Hannah to go home and not be sad anymore. He said that God would answer her prayer. When Hannah left the Temple she felt so much better. On her face was a beautiful smile.
God did answer Hannah's prayer just as Eli had said. Soon Hannah had a baby boy. Can you imagine how happy she was when her little son was born? She wanted her baby to have just the right name, and chose the name Samuel which means "asked of God." That was her choice because she had asked God for this special baby and God had answered her prayer.
Each year whole families would go to the Temple to pray. For a few years, when Samuel was very young, Hannah did not go with the rest of the people. But when he was old enough she gathered some gifts together and took Samuel to the Temple. She remembered her special promise to God. She told Eli, the priest, that her son could live with him and be a helper for God.
Hannah loved her little son very much. She wanted him to learn all about God. She wanted him to know that God would always help him and take care of him.
Every year when Hannah visited the Temple she would take a new coat to Samuel. Hannah made the coats for him because she loved him. She was so happy that he was now serving God.
God was very pleased with Hannah's faithfulness and that she had kept her promise to Him. After Hannah took Samuel to the Temple to work for the Lord, she and Elkanah had more children - two daughters and three more sons. God truly blessed Hannah for being so unselfish and for loving Him so much.
The story of Hannah's prayer for a son and her dedication of that son to the Lord is a favorite of children. As you read this beautiful story together, reinforce how God answered Hannah's prayer and how she willingly gave Samuel to the work of the Lord.
Draw or trace paper dolls in gradually larger sizes. Tell your child this is Samuel, as he grew year by year. Let him cut out the figures and color the hair, etc. Then help him draw a little coat to fit each figure, explaining how Hannah made a coat each year and took it to the Temple for Samuel.