Hannah and Mary

Today’s Treasure


Mary responded, "I am the Lord's servant. May everything you have said about me come true." And then the angel left her.

Luke 1:38 NLT


The parallels between Mary, the mother of Jesus, God’s Son, and Hannah, the mother of Samuel, God’s priest, are remarkable. Neither woman’s claim to fame is that of a Deborah, Esther, Miriam or other women of leadership. We know Mary and Hannah because they are mothers who gave birth to sons through the miraculous intervention of God.

When you are tempted to discount the validity of the Old Testament, ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to the presence of Jesus on every page. Though the name of Jesus is never mentioned in the account of Samuel’s birth, we see glimpses of  Jesus throughout this account. For instance, Hannah is a foreshadowing of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Both women experienced miraculous births. God opened Mary’s womb. God closed Hannah’s womb:

But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb. And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb.

1 Samuel 1:5-6 ESV

For years Hannah prayed for a son. The more I process Hannah’s story, the more I wonder if Hannah’s prayer for a son goes much deeper than a woman longing for a child. The spiritual leadership of the Jewish people was “worthless”. Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinneas abused their roles as priests. These were dark days spiritually for God’s people. Hannah doesn’t just pray for a son, but I think she prays for a son that could be God’s instrument in turning the hearts of God’s people toward Him. Why else would she vow to give her son to God and why else could she do so with the great joy and praise she exhibits in her prayer in 1 Samuel 2? God opened Hannah’s womb and gave her that son.

Mary also experiences a miraculous birth.  God opened her womb. She had never had sex and yet the angel tells her she will not only bear a son, but this child will be the Messiah. Jewish people prayed for the Messiah to come. It’s likely Mary also prayed for the Messiah to come, along with her family. Her response to the angel’s message indicates she understood that this miraculous child was part of God’s redemption plan.

Both women surrender to God’s purposes. Hannah calls herself a servant of the Lord three times in her prayer:

And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”

1 Samuel 1:11 ESV

Mary, too, declares herself God’s servant in response to the angel’s message that she would bear a son and call His name Jesus, because He would save His people from their sins:

Mary responded, "I am the Lord's servant. May everything you have said about me come true." And then the angel left her.

Luke 1:38 NLT

When life came crashing down around them, we see that prayer and surrender to God’s purpose is their default mode. I will never forget the day the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the power of Mary’s response to the angel. In essence, Mary declares that her circumstances will be her platform for glorifying God. In that moment, God clarified His calling for me to choose with my will to respond to Mark’s death: “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be to me as you have said.” Seeing my circumstances as my platform for glorifying Him gave me a defined purpose.

However, let’s be real. Though God gave me purpose through Mary’s response, He did not make the pilgrimage easy. The ache in my chest did not go away in that moment. Tears flowed as I recognized God’s calling is often hard and His purposes for me required an excruciating dying to self. Mary surrendered to God’s purposes as did Hannah. Both women experienced pain as they let go of their sons for God’s service. Hannah turned her little boy over to Eli. Mary’s journey included a “sword in her soul”, along with the joy of raising her boy.

For me, this is not a one and done commitment. The ruts and detours of daily life offer numerous opportunities to repeatedly remember that my circumstances are my platform for glorifying God. I am His servant.

A pilgrimage fueled by hope is never a pilgrimage without ruts and detours. It’s my prayer today that you will mull over the stories of Mary and Hannah. If you are in a good place in your life journey, I hope you will tuck away this teaching moment and one day it will remind you of the truth of Scripture and fuel your pilgrimage with hope.




Father, sometimes we doubt Your Word. Use the parallels between Hannah and Mary to remind us more of the evidence that Your Holy Spirit directed writers to pen every word and that each one comes from Your heart to ours.


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