February 10, 2021
Dear Prayer Partners,
Thank you for continuing in prayer each Wednesday for revival and for our prodigals. The value of prayer is not just for the one being prayed for but for the one doing the praying. We get to hear from God. In his book, The Rest Of God, Mark Buchanan says, “Prayer, before it’s talking, ought to be listening. Before it’s petition, it should be audition. Before it calls for eloquence, it requires attention. God speaks. We listen. Prayer’s best posture is ears cupped, head tilted toward that voice.”
Little Samuel was the result of much prayer. Hannah promised God that if He gave her a male child, she would give him back to the Lord. When God answered her prayer, Hannah kept her promise and when he was old enough, she brought him to the temple to serve God.
Samuel learned the ways of the temple under the tutelage of Eli, the aged priest. He learned how to properly dress for priestly functions. He learned the importance of washing at the laver before the day’s activities. He was taught the various offerings and their significance. He learned how to keep the oil in the lamp, how to cut a sacrificial lamb, and so on. There was much to learn when serving in the temple of God.
One thing that the seasoned priest did not teach his little pupil, was to detect the voice of God. Maybe it was a long time since Eli himself had heard God’s voice. We know from Scripture, “In those days messages from the LORD were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon” (1 Sam. 3:1). The time came when God made His introduction to Samuel. Remember that night? It is recorded in 1 Samuel 3:1-10:
Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the LORD by assisting Eli...One night Eli, who was almost blind by now, had gone to bed. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the Tabernacle near the Ark of God. Suddenly the LORD called out, “Samuel!” “Yes?” Samuel replied. “What is it?” He got up and ran to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” “I didn’t call you,” Eli replied. “Go back to bed.” So he did. Then the LORD called out again, “Samuel!” Again Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” “I didn’t call you, my son,” Eli said. “Go back to bed.” Samuel did not yet know the LORD because he had never had a message from the LORD before. So the LORD called a third time, and once more Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” Then Eli realized it was the LORD who was calling the boy. So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, LORD, your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back to bed. And the LORD came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”
It says in verse seven, “Samuel did not yet know the Lord.” He had never gotten a personal message from God up to this point. When he realized it was the Lord, and he was willing to listen to what God had to say, God gave him the message. Samuel became a spokesperson for God. Samuel heard a divine message for a present need. It became a continual part of his life from that point (1 Sam. 3:21).
As Samuel grew in stature, he grew in his experience with God. And people knew that he was a prophet of the Lord. They knew this because they sensed God’s presence with him. They realized that his words were the words of the Lord. “And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground” (1 Sam. 3:19). Samuel listened to God before he spoke to God’s people.
While it is good to pray, and good to petition, it is essential for us to listen to God. To sit in His presence. To spend quietly with Him. To allow His presence to fill us. And as we do this, we will know our God better and His love will fill our hearts and overflow into the lives of those around us.
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel