The story of Hannah, the mother of Samuel, is a vivid portrait of the incredible power of motherhood.

There was within her a natural instinct to have a child. A child was the priority and central focus of her life. This is always true of influential mothers. The moms who make the greatest impact on their children are those whose priorities are firmly fixed upon the welfare of their kids.

In our post-modern culture, children are sometimes seen as a burden rather than a blessing. The radical feminist movement argues that there is no such thing as “motherly instinct.” A professor of anthropology at Colorado College states: “To my knowledge there is no objective substantiation of a maternal instinct in human beings. This reasoning implies something specifically vulnerable and dangerous about women in this society” (written in a letter to the NY Times). He denies the existence of maternal instinct and characterizes it as dangerous.

Contradicting this absurd notion is Hannah’s passion for a child … a passion that could not be satisfied with her husband’s gifts, would endure any sacrifice, could not be discouraged by Eli’s lack of perception, and simply would not be denied. The Psalmist declares that children are the heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is His reward.

Overshadowing this entire story is the matter of prayer – from beginning to end. It starts out as unhappy story – a troubled home, a stressful marriage, and a miserable woman. Hannah is the supreme example of the power of a praying mother to transform the home.

Question: When do you start raising your children? Answer: Before they are conceived. How is that possible? Through prayer. She prayed for her son before he was even conceived. Don’t wait until your children are born to begin praying for them. Open a prayer account in their name; begin making deposits now.

The power of this praying mother changed the atmosphere in her home, transformed her marriage and ultimately directed the course of a nation.

Her purpose was a child that would glorify God. We should see every child as a gift from God, and therefore a gift to be given back to God. During a relay race the most critical issue is passing the baton. If the runners drop the baton, the race is lost. In my value system, no accomplishment in life … no amount of success … no amount of wealth will compensate if my children drop the baton. Paul wrote, “I have no greater joy than to know my children walk in the truth.”

She prayed with such intensity Eli thought she was drunk. The priest marked her lips; God marked her heart.

Augustine’s mother was deeply distressed over her wayward son. She went to a leading churchman to ask him to intervene. From a broken heart and with tear stained eyes she implored him to speak to her son. Sensing that such an intervention was ill timed, he declined, leaving her in despair. But he spoke a word of hope when he said to her, “It is impossible for the son of those tears to perish.” Shortly thereafter, Augustine heard the audible voice of God calling him. He turned to Christ and became one of the most influential men in Christendom.

2 Tim. 1:5: Every time I say your name in prayer – which is practically all the time – I thank God for you, the God I worship with my whole life in the tradition of my ancestors. I miss you a lot, especially when I remember that last tearful goodbye, and I look forward to a joy-packed reunion.  That precious memory triggers another: your honest faith – and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice, and now to you!

2 Tim. 3:12ff: But evil people and impostors will go from bad to worse as they deceive others and are themselves deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and found to be true, because you know from whom you learned it. From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures that are able to give you the wisdom you need for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

The Message: “But don’t let it faze you. Stick with what you learned and believed, sure of the integrity of your teachers – why, you took in the sacred Scriptures with your mother’s milk!” (emphasis added).