Click below to download the Cornerstone Connections leader’s guide and student lesson. This week’s resources also include two lesson plans and a discussion starter video which offer different ways of looking at the topic. Each lesson plan includes opening activities, scripture passages, discussion questions, and real-life applications.
Hannah is faithful to fulfill the vow she makes to God in anguish.
Patriarchs and Prophets (Beginning of the End), chapter 55
God Calls the Child Samuel
Patriarchs and Prophets (Beginning of the End), chapter 58
The Schools of the Prophets
The contestants who compete on the television show Survivor have to endure a wide variety of environmental, physical, mental, emotional, social, and personal challenges while they live on an island with limited resources. The game of Survivor has many similarities to life here on earth where the Great Controversy between good and evil continues to push us to our limits spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally. Samuel’s mother Hannah experienced the pain of discouragement and disappointment, but she also had unshakeable faith and knew that God was her only hope. God responded to her faith and her deeply troubled prayer, and gave her a son. We can learn about faith and the power of prayer from Hannah. She did not turn away from God in her brokenness, but instead, like a true survivor, she continued to have faith and seek Him for help.
OPENING ACTIVITY: ILLUSTRATING UNSHAKEABLE
Supplies: paper, pencils and colored pencils
BIBLE STUDY GUIDE
Read each Bible passage, then discuss the questions.
Read Jonah 2:1-10.
1 From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. 2 He said:
“In my distress I called to the Lord,
and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,
and you listened to my cry.
3 You hurled me into the depths,
into the very heart of the seas,
and the currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers
swept over me.
4 I said, ‘I have been banished
from your sight;
yet I will look again
toward your holy temple.’
5 The engulfing waters threatened me,
the deep surrounded me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.
6 To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you, Lord my God,
brought my life up from the pit.
7 “When my life was ebbing away,
I remembered you, Lord,
and my prayer rose to you,
to your holy temple.
8 “Those who cling to worthless idols
turn away from God’s love for them.
9 But I, with shouts of grateful praise,
will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’ ”
10 And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
Three Fiercely Faithful Friends
Read Daniel 3:13-18.
13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Jehoshaphat’s Faithful Triumph
Read 2 Chronicles 20:10-17.
10 “But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. 11 See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. 12 Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
13 All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the Lord.
14 Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly.
15 He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’ ”
In the game of Survivor, contestants are seeking to win immunity in order to continue toward their quest of being the sole survivor who wins a big cash prize. Your immunity comes from your faith and your connection with God through Bible study and prayer. Hannah’s prayer shows that deep hurt is a reality, but God is a mighty God who will ultimately save His people. Hannah got to see the answer to her prayer, but sometimes God’s answer to your prayer might not be what you want. Times when you have to accept His “no” or “wait” in response to your prayer is when you will discover whether or not you have unshakeable faith. Your faith in God leads to eternal life, the ultimate prize. No matter what challenges you survive in this life, good or bad, you can trust and rest in God’s faithfulness to you.
For a Relational Bible Study (RBS) you’ll want to get into the Scripture passage and encourage the youth to imagine participating in the story while it’s happening. Then you will be able to better apply it to your own situation today.
You will need to ask God for the Holy Spirit to be present as your small group discusses the questions (no more than 3-6 people in a group is recommended). Start with the opening question. It is a personal question and the answer is unique for each individual. There is no right answer and nobody is an expert here, so don’t be surprised when you hear different responses. You are depending on the Holy Spirit to be present and to speak through your group. Say what God prompts you to say, and listen to what others share.
Take turns reading the chapter out loud. Follow that with giving the students some time to individually mark their responses to the questions (a PDF version of the handout is available as a download). This gives each person a starting point for responding when you start to share as a group. Next, begin the discussion by asking the students to share what they marked and why on each question as you work your way through. Feel free to take more time on some questions than others as discussion warrants.
Encourage each person in the group to apply what is discussed to their personal lives and to share with the group what they believe God wants them to do. Then ask them to pray that God will help each of them to follow through in doing so. Remind them to expect that God will show them ways to live out the message of this passage in the coming week, and that they are free to ask others in the group to help hold them accountable.
In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah, a woman unable to conceive, prays earnestly to God for a child, makes a vow to dedicate her son to the Lord if granted one, and eventually gives birth to Samuel, whom she dedicates to God's service in the temple by way of fulfilling her promise. The questions in this RBS reflect on Hannah’s challenges and invites participants to consider their own challenges and responses to them. It is also meant to stir conversation about your personal understanding and framework of prayer, giving a chance to share and learn from each other.
From Despair to Prayer
What gift did you beg your parents for as a little kid and why?
Read 1 Samuel 1:1-28.
There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 2 He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.
3 Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the Lord Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the Lord. 4 Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb. 6 Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. 7 This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. 8 Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”
9 Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s house. 10 In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. 11 And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”
12 As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14 and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”
15 “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. 16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
17 Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
18 She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.
19 Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. 20 So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.”
Hannah Dedicates Samuel
21 When her husband Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the Lord and to fulfill his vow, 22 Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, “After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the Lord, and he will live there always.”
23 “Do what seems best to you,” her husband Elkanah told her. “Stay here until you have weaned him; only may the Lord make good his word.” So the woman stayed at home and nursed her son until she had weaned him.
24 After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. 25 When the bull had been sacrificed, they brought the boy to Eli, 26 and she said to him, “Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. 27 I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. 28 So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.
1. Why was Hannah anxious and in despair?
A. She couldn’t have children.
B. Money problems.
C. She was lonely.
D. Being bullied by others.
E. Felt no worth because of how her culture viewed her.
F. Lacked purpose in life.
G. She wasn’t that anxious in the story.
H. She was a drunk.
2. What do you do when you face challenges?
A. Avoid thinking about them.
B. Give up and accept defeat.
C. Seek advice from friends and family.
D. Try to solve them all on my own.
E. Pray and seek God's guidance.
F. Distract myself with hobbies.
G. Blame others for my challenges.
H. Ignore them and hope they go away.
3. Which aspect of Hannah’s challenge do you relate to most?
A. Not feeling good enough.
B. Longing for something I don't have.
C. Trying to handle pressure from culture around me.
D. I don’t relate to her.
E. Issues with my relationship.
F. Being judged by others.
G. Struggling with personal health issues.
H. Questioning my life's purpose.
4. What did Hannah do when her prayer was answered?
A. Celebrated with a big party.
B. Kept it a secret.
C. Forgot about her promise.
D. Taunted Peninah back.
E. Dedicated her son to God.
F. Distanced herself from God.
G. Rejoiced in God’s gift.
5. Which of the following statements about prayer do you agree with?
A. More prayer, more power.
B. God always answers prayers of good people.
C. Prayer is a way to connect with God.
D. God doesn't care about our problems.
E. Prayer can change our perspective.
F. It's better to rely on self than on prayer.
G. If I don’t pray about something, it won’t come true.
6. What prayer habits do you practice or want to practice?
A. Praying daily for others.
B. Meditating quietly without words.
C. Praying with a group or community.
D. Writing down my prayers in a journal.
E. Walking in nature or around the block and praying.
F. Listening to music and writing a prayer poem.
G. Using scripture promises in my prayers.
7. How do you react when your prayer is not answered the way you expected or wanted?
8. What are some issues in your life that you want to surrender to God right now?
In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah faces deep despair because she is not able to have children, which lowered her worth to the society around her and caused her pressure and anxiety, especially when she was taunted for it. However, Hannah's story holds a profound lesson for us—she turned her despair into persistent prayer. Hannah's unwavering faith and her commitment to entrust her deepest struggles to God's care reveal the incredible power of prayer in our lives. Life often throws us challenges that can feel overwhelming, but just as Hannah found hope in her unceasing prayers, we too can find hope and transformation by opening up to God through prayer. It's not merely a ritual; it's a profound conversation with the God Himself, offering us comfort, guidance, and surrender.
Here are four ways to apply this week’s story and theme!
WALK AND TALK.
What if the Miracles of Jesus are more than meets the eye?
What if there is so much more to each story than we see?
What if each time Jesus did something supernatural, He was inviting us to look deeper?
Beyond the healing.
Beyond the deliverance.
Beyond the acts that defied the laws of nature.
What if Jesus were inviting us to see something bigger?
Something more amazing about the love of God.
What if the ultimate Miracle is that God can transform us?
The Miracle Series is an interactive study of 15 of Jesus’ awe-inspiring encounters while here on earth. These lessons, and messages are designed to connect with teens and youth and take them on a journey of discovery. Included in this kit is everything you need:
We invite you and your youth to not just study the Miracles of Jesus but to experience The Miracle.
1. Activity / Busy Bags for Kids
Help parents stay sane. Assemble bags with activities to keep small children busy.
Cost: Less than $5.00
2. Placemats For Meals On Wheels
Cheer up the homebound. Thoughtfully decorated placemats are a lovely extra to bring to meal recipients. If you’re able to laminate the placemats, all the better!
Cost: Less than $5.00
3. Deliver Meals For Meals On Wheels
Help fight hunger. Pick up and deliver meals to seniors and people with disabilities.
Cost: Less than $5.00