How do you know that God is speaking to you? He is speaking to you all day every day.
Just as Elijah heard God in a still, small voice in 1 Kings 19, God will speak to you in this way. He will encourage you through circumstances, through your conscience, and through creation. Romans 1:20
We are in the book of 1 Samuel. Samuel is the son that Hannah promised to the Lord, as we saw in last week's message. Samuel served in the tabernacle for a man named Eli, whom God was training Samuel to replace.
1. Prepare with expectation to hear the voice of God. 1 Samuel 3:9-10
As a boy, Samuel hears the voice of God but believes Eli is calling him. Eli finally perceives that God is calling Samuel and so instructs him to go back "to his place" and wait for the voice again, having his response ready: "Speak, for your servant hears."
When you go to your place to pray, have an expectation that God will speak to you. Be prepared; have a pen and paper ready to write what you hear. Tell God, "I'm not going to move until I hear You!"
2. Respond to His voice immediately. 1 Samuel 3:4
When Samuel first thinks he hears Eli calling him, he stands up and runs to Eli.
When you respond to God wholeheartedly, He is able to guide and direct you. Pastor Miles gave the example of trying to turn a car's steering wheel. You can't steer a parked car! It must be moving to be guided.
3. Respond consistently. 1 Samuel 3:6
The Lord calls Samuel repeatedly until Samuel answers properly. Then God tells him more.
He calls you repeatedly also. He wants to know that He can count on you to reply every time. Some of you serve for a while, pray for a while, respond for a while, but then you stop. When you develop consistency in the little things, God will bless you and give you more important things to do.
4. Respond persistently. 1 Samuel 3:8
God calls Samuel a third time. Now Eli perceives that it is the Lord calling Samuel and therefore instructs Samuel to answer God directly.
Samuel keeps getting up every time he hears the voice, even though he may feel irritated. God is not a genie to instantly gratify your whims. You have to press Him persistently. As you pursue God, he purifies you, redirects your prayers, reshapes your thinking, and - once you are ready - gives you what you really need. James 5:16
5. Respond as a humble servant. 1 Samuel 3:10-11
The next time the Lord calls, Samuel answers, "Speak, for your servant hears." Then the Lord responds with a prophet message. God did not tell him the important information until he answered correctly.
Are you the Lord's servant or is He yours?
Miles shared the story about the first time he heard prayed to receive forgiveness and have a relationship with Christ. He contemplated all the changes he would need to make in his life and was afraid of having to give up football. God didn't ask Miles to do that right away, but we need to be willing to answer God obediently whatever He asks. Remember, God will never ask you to do something that you won't be glad of having done in the end. He made you and He knows what is best for you.
Practice walking with God and responding to His voice every day for one week. Find a place where you listen to God and go prepared with your Bible, a pen, and paper. Need a place to start? Proverbs has 31 chapters and there are 31 days in a month, so read the chapter that pertains to that day's date.