Humbly Listening to God (1 Samuel 3:9) - Radical

Humbly Listening to God (1 Samuel 3:9)

Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.'” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
-1 Samuel 3:9

If you know this story in 1 Samuel 3, Samuel’s lying down to sleep and he hears this voice. He goes to Eli and he says, “Are you calling me?” And Eli says no. “Go back and lie down.” Then Samuel hears this voice again and again. Eli says, “Basically, God is speaking to you, Samuel. So go lie down. And if he calls you, just say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.'” God indeed speaks to Samuel. What I love about this verse though and why I want to lead us to pray according to it is this picture of an open heart and open ears to hear from the Lord.

As Christians, we should strive to humbly listen to you with open hearts and open ears.

1 Samuel 3:9 Asks God to Help Us Listen Humbly

I read it and I think, I want this posture to mark my life on a daily basis. Don’t you want it to mark your life, where you are open at every moment to however God might speak to you through his word, through his spirit? That you have a soft heart toward God. That you are sensitive to his word and to his Spirit’s leadership in your life. This picture of humility, this posture of listening to God is vital to experiencing intimacy with God. Can we just pray for this based on 1 Samuel 3:9 in each of our lives, in our hearts, with our ears?

God, please help us to humbly listen to you, to rise in the morning, O God, and to open your word and to meditate on it day and night and all throughout the day to hear your word to us. We pray that as we hear your word, you would help us to understand it and know you through it, and that you would give us ever increasing sensitivity to your spirit as you lead us according to your word. We want to walk with you, to humbly walk with you, to say in a sense to you at every moment, “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.”

1 Samuel 3:9 Asks God to Correct and Lead Us

We want you to correct us, lead us, guide us, God, we don’t want to follow ourselves. We don’t want to follow our own ideas. Help us to prioritize your word, to meditate on it, to memorize it, to study it, to digest it, to obey it. And as we do, please lead us by your spirit, we pray. God, even as we pray this in our own lives, we pray this for people’s lives around us that you would help us to share your word with others. And we pray you’d give them a soft heart to hear it.

God, we pray for people around us today and tomorrow. We pray that we have opportunities to share the gospel with your word of grace with. Help us to be bold in sharing your word with people around us today. And God, we pray that you would surprise us with how soft their hearts are. And God, as we pray for unreached people around the world, we pray for the Fulani of Niger in Nigeria. God, we pray that you would soften the hearts of Muslim Fulani, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of them. You would soften their hearts to hear your gospel as it goes to them.

Leading Us to Proclaim the Gospel Among the Fulani

And God, we pray that it would go to them, that you would bless your church in Nigeria, your church there, missionaries there, to proclaim your word among the Fulani. And God, we pray that you’d give them soft hearts to hear and respond to it. That disciples might be made and churches might be planted and multiplied among the Fulani for your glory. Lord, we pray all of this according to 1 Samuel 3:9. May the posture of our hearts constantly be, “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.” In Jesus’ name, amen.

View the 2021 McLean Bible Church Reading Plan.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


That means that the people with the most urgent spiritual and physical needs on the planet are receiving the least amount of support. Together we can change that!