Our first reading this Sunday, from the 1st Book of Samuel, shows us a moment in his life as a little boy, when God first taught him how their interactions should begin. First, God calls Samuel by name, and Samuel doesn’t understand Who he is hearing call out to him. Once he realizes it was God, God tells him to respond each time by saying “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” This sounds a bit formal for many, but it is a great reminder for us to think about how we address God when we are called.
We first must remember that this was a spectacular moment in Samuel’s life, and most of us won’t hear God’s voice as he did – just like a human voice calling out to him. But all of us hear God calling us to have a conversation, it is usually just a feeling. Think of the times when you felt like you should take an extra moment after Mass to pray, or the times when you feel a need to be alone for a moment. These are times when God is calling you to prayer. Even though it sometimes feels like we reach out first, the notion in our minds that we could talk to God about something is a gift from God, His reaching out to us, every single time.
What if we had a way of responding in these moments? It wouldn’t have to be “speak, Lord, for your servant is listening,” but that would be a good one. It would help to remind us that that moment is special, that God just called out to us. It would help us remind ourselves, also, that we should be listening in prayer more than speaking. Whatever it is, however you need to do it, make an effort to really acknowledge those moments when you feel called to pray. If you first acknowledge what just happened – that God just called out to you – your prayer in that moment will be much different.