“Speak, Lord, your servant is listening” (1 Sam 3:10).
The beautiful story about the call of the boy Samuel in the night is a model for our search for intimacy with God. We are told that at first Samuel was not familiar with the Lord, because the Lord had not yet revealed anything to him. We can dispose ourselves to God’s presence, but God must initiate and reveal the divine Self. Patience is part of prayer, and we must trust that God will encounter us when the moment is right. The Psalms, the great prayer book of the Bible, teach us to wait for the Lord.
Samuel is awakened three times by God’s call before he realizes what it means. Our own awakenings may take time or be partial, until we learn to recognize and respond to God’s prompts. Samuel grows in his awareness as he matures naturally. It is the same with us.
God’s Word is always effective. When God speaks, things happen. Even if our progress is gradual or in stages, the Word is always forming us in just the right way and at the right time. Our approach to God is part of the actual encounter. We have to learn how to love another, and the whole relationship is the gift, not just certain peak experiences.
God spoke to Samuel so that Samuel could be God’s spokesperson to the people. If we learn to listen to God, our own words will continually express what God is saying to us. Prayerful people make good evangelists. Everything they say and do is a revelation of God’s presence.