Summary: Series on men and women’s prayers in the Bible that made a difference and how prayer truly is the difference maker in our lives. I borrowed the outlines from SermonCentral Pro Contributor Tim Byrd.
Samuel: The Partner in Prayer
1 Samuel 3: 1-10; 12:16-25
Readers’ Digest has a section called All in a Day’s Work where people write in humorous things that happen at work. Confiding in a co-worker, I told her about a problem in our office and my fear that I would lose my job. She was concerned and said she would pray for me. I know she keeps a list of 10 people she believes need her prayers the most, so I asked her if she had room for me on her list. “Oh yes,” she replied. “Three of the people have died.” Usually when someone intercedes for us, we want better results than that!
Tonight as we continue to look at prayers that made a difference, we will see a man that God greatly used. Recall two weeks ago we studied the prayer life of a woman named Hannah. A woman who so desired a child, a male child, that her promise was God if you will give me a son I will give him to you to be used for your service. God was faithful a granted her request and Hannah gave birth to a son, named him Samuel and gave him to God as she had promised.
Samuel was one of the last of the judges to rule over God’s people. He was a man who was obedient to God. But more importantly he was a man of Prayer. He was a man who interceded for the Nation of Israel. Even though the Nation of Israel had fallen away from God and made some bad decisions, Samuel never stopped praying for the Nation of Israel. In a sense he became there prayer partner. So tonight we are going to take a look at Samuel: The Partner in Prayer. Let’s look at this man and his prayer life…
I. Insistent Voice of God.
At an early age, most likely 3 years of age because that’s when a mother in those days weaned their children, his mother gave him to the priest Eli to serve the Lord in the temple. That was the promise that Hannah had made to the Lord if He would answer her prayers and let her give birth to a son.
That’s where we find Samuel in 1 Samuel 3:1-10. This passage tells of God speaking to this young boy named Samuel. Some say this was Samuel’s calling into the prophetic ministry and I personally agree with that.
At this time Samuel was probably twelve years old when the Lord spoke to him one night as he lay in the tabernacle "annex" where Eli was also sleeping. The "lamp of God" was the seven-branched golden candlestick that stood in the holy place before the veil of the Holy of Holies, to the left of the golden altar of incense. It was the only source of light in the holy place, and the priests were ordered to keep it burning always (27:20) and to trim the wicks when they offered the incense each morning and evening (30:7-8). The lamp was a symbol of the light of God’s truth given to the world through His people Israel. The problem though at this time was that the law was not honored by God’s people.
In this passage we see the Lord spoke to Samuel three times. The first 2 times Samuel thought it was Eli calling him. One of the marks of a faithful servant is an attentive ear and an immediate response. Notice Samuel’s attention and response. That attention and response carried over once he came to know God as his father. The voice was not Eli’s but rather it was God’s voice calling Samuel. But Samuel had never heard God’s voice, so he didn’t know who was calling to him. This is a great example of how important it is for those who are raised in Christian homes to make their own personal decisions for Christ. Like the Apostle Paul, Samuel’s call and conversion occurred at the same time, except that Samuel’s experience was at night while Paul saw a blazing light when he heard God’s voice (Acts 9:1-9). So the third time Samuel went to Eli, Eli was discerning enough to realize that God was speaking to the boy, so he told him how to respond.
Two very important things I want us to see here.
1. Samuel was in the right place to hear from God.
Spiritually, Samuel was ready to hear from God. Probably night after night he had slept in the same place, near the priest Eli, by the lamp of the God. But that night was different because that night he heard God for the first time. His heart was ready. His heart was spiritually in the right place to hear from God. Can the same be said about you and me? Is our hearts spiritually ready to hear from God? God has so much He wants to say and share with us but the problem is many of us miss out on those blessings because spiritually are hearts are not ready.