I just heard a wonderful podcast about Hannah, the mother of Samuel (from 1Kings) and why her prayer to have a child was effectively heard: it was persistent (over several years), it was constant (short prayers throughout the day, always focusing squarely on the Lord), and she was virtuous.
Try Search the Scriptures podcast at http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/searchthescriptures – Dr. Jeannie Constantinou is the teacher and she has a 3-part series on Hannah (part 2 is what I heard today). This podcast is a MUST for anyone who wants to study the scriptures with commentary by the early Church Fathers. It is Orthodox, not Roman Catholic, but it is exceptional. Dr. Constantinou’s passion for the scriptures, the Church Fathers and ancient history has given me a thirst for the Bible that I never thought was possible. She is covering the entire bible with the podcast beginning at Genesis. Here is her bio:
Eugenia Constantinou holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Studies (1980) and a Master of Arts degree in Practical Theology from the University of San Diego (1992). She received a Master of Theology degree from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in 1996 where she specialized in Orthodox Theology and Patristics. She also received a Master of Theology from Harvard Divinity School in 1998 where she specialized in the New Testament. She had also previously earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Pepperdine University School of Law in 1985 and has been a member of the California Bar since that same year. Dr. Constantinou received her Ph.D. at Université Laval, Quebec City, Canada, in 2007, writing her doctoral dissertation on “Andrew of Caesarea and the Apocalypse in the Ancient Church of the East.”
Dr. Constantinou has been teaching Biblical Studies and Early Christianity at the University of San Diego since 2002. Previously she taught New Testament at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology from 1998-1999. She has led bible studies, taught and lectured on the Bible and Orthodoxy at parishes, conferences, retreats and seminars for over thirty years. She is married to Fr. Costa, who is the pastor of the Greek Orthodox Mission of South Orange County, and is simply “Mom” to Christopher, who is 16 years old.