The Prayer of a Listener

1 Samuel 3:10-14

10 The LORD came, stood there, and called as before, “Samuel, Samuel!” Samuel responded, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.”  11 The LORD said to Samuel, “I am about to do something in Israel that everyone who hears about it will shudder.  12 On that day I will carry out against Eli everything I said about his family, from beginning to end.  13 I told him that I am going to judge his family forever because of the iniquity he knows about: his sons are defiling the sanctuary, and he has not stopped them.  14 Therefore, I have sworn to Eli’s family: The iniquity of Eli’s family will never be wiped out by either sacrifice or offering.”


It is one thing to hear someone talk and it is another to listen. My children have taught me the importance of listening and not just hearing. Many times, I speak until I am red in the face, but they respond as if I was speaking in Greek. They can hear the words coming out of my mouth, but they aren’t listening.

Christians all too often treat God the same way. We come before God to hear His Word. We listen to a sermon. We read the Bible. Yet His Word goes in one ear and out the other. Many of us are regular hearers of the Word, but it is rare for us to listen and respond to the same Word. God calls on us to listen in the pattern of Samuel who both heard and followed the Word of the LORD.

Call Out for God’s Voice

In Samuel chapter 3, the priest Eli provides Samuel with priceless advice for the person who give the opportunity to hear the voice of the Lord. Eli told Samuel to come before God with the words, ‘Speak, LORD, for Your servant hears.’ The word speak in the Hebrew text is an imperative. Samuel was to call out for God’s voice to be heard. Don’t passively sit and wait for God to speak to you. Call out to Him every time before you open your Bible, so He will speak directly to you, because you are listening to His message for you today.

Listen to Every Word

There was nothing childish or comforting in God’s message to Samuel. God did not come to this young boy in storybook form with a palatable message about forgiveness and love. God came with a message of judgment that would make Samuel tremble in fright. The household that Samuel was raised in was going to be under the judgment of God.

We need to prepare ourselves in a moment of prayer before we read the Word, so we can be ready to hear the uncomfortable truths in the Bible. You may have hidden sins God desires to uncover. There may be words of judgment for people close to you, and God wants you to use those words as warning to change a hardened heart.

Before you read the Word take a few seconds to ask God to speak to you. Tell Lord that you are His servant, and you ready to respond to His message no matter how comforting or difficult it is to take in at this time. We need more men and women in the church today who will not limit God’s Word to the passages on strength and comfort but also to the words of repentance and chastisement. Tell the Lord to speak and not hold back, because you are listening.