A third time the Lord called, ‘Samuel!’ And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am; you called me.’ Then Eli realised that the Lord was calling the boy. So, Eli told Samuel, ‘Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”’ So, Samuel went and lay down in his place. (1 Samuel 3:8-9 NIV)
Prayer is a 2-way street. We talk to God. God talks to us. Talking to God comes very naturally to us, especially when we are experiencing a crisis in our lives. In fact, we often forget about God until we experience that crisis in our lives. We forget to tune in to God when things are going well in our lives. We forget to hear God.
God calls out to Samuel; a young boy serving in the house of the Lord. However, he thinks that the priest of the house, Eli, is calling him. 3 times Samuel hears someone calling him. He goes to Eli 3 times. At the 3rd time, it finally comes to Eli that it might be God who is calling Samuel. Therefore, Eli tells Samuel that the next time he hears his name being called, he should say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening”.
Speak, Lord, for your servant hears. This sounds more like a posture than a mere statement. I believe it is a matter of opening our hearts to God. Whether we are on the bus or in the office or in the kitchen, God is there speaking to us. In fact, I would go as far as to say that God talks to us even before we can talk to him. When we look at Samuel’s life, we would see that God is involved in his life even before he is born. Hannah his mother grieves in the house of the Lord because she is unable to have a child. Eli thinks she is drunk. She corrects him and says she is praying with all her heart. Eli then pronounces a blessing on her and she is comforted. Hannah conceives and gives birth to Samuel. After Samuel is weaned, she presents Samuel to the house of the Lord in thanksgiving for God’s blessing upon her life. From the humble beginnings serving in the house of the Lord in Shiloh, Samuel will eventually become a prophet to Israel.
When we look at Samuel’s beginnings, we could say that God is there even before he is born. If we look closely into our lives, God is there too, even before we talk to him. All we have to say is “Speak, Lord for your servant hears”.