from 1 Samuel, tells another story of a faithful woman; here, Hannah is a model of a faithful, prayerful follower of God.
At a time when few trusted in the mess that was their political and religious structure, Hannah's personal life is full of struggle, too. Unable to bear children, she's taunted by her husband's other wife, and haunted by her own desire for a child.
So, she does a bold thing: she prays about it. Fervently, and without the help of a priest or the interceding powers of an offering. Her prayer is so wild that the priest assumes she's drunk; after they talk, though, he affirms the power of her genuine, deep, whole-hearted prayer.
She doesn't behave as though she's entitled to what she wants; she is willing to make promises and sacrifices, too.
When her child, Samuel, is born, she sings another bold prayer. It tells of the power of a God who turns things around and upside down, inverting everything we think we know about the world.
As I read Hannah's prayers--the one where she pleaded and bargained with God and the one where she sang God's praises--I'm struck by how genuine they are. They are authentic, unmitigated, heartfelt expressions of herself. They need to polishing, no professional's help, no gold-embossed typesetting. They are real.
Perhaps this is what God is asking of us: that we would come to God with our pain and our joy, trusting in and celebrating connection to a God in whom all things are possible.