At the time of Eli and Samuel, it was rare to hear the word of God. People just didn’t expect God to start speaking to them, so it’s no surprise that Samuel didn’t recognize God’s voice when he did. After all, when you’re not expecting something, you’re probably not listening for it.
Fortunately, Eli did recognize God’s voice, and he encouraged Samuel to listen and respond the next time God spoke. Without that anticipation — that expectation that God’s word is coming — Samuel may have continued to miss it.
But because he was listening, Samuel was able to respond with a prayer: “Speak, for your servant is listening.” And that prayer opened the door for the Lord to bless Samuel’s childhood and his entire life.
Let us pray that other children around the world will open their ears to the Lord, anticipating his voice as Samuel did.