>The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was. Then the LORD called Samuel.

Samuel answered, “Here I am.”
1 Samuel 3:3-4

God communicated directly with Samuel in a way that not many people experience. Samuel heard an audible voice. He had never heard God speak. In fact, according to the Bible and the flannel graph story from my childhood, Samuel got out of bed thinking that Eli had called him from the next room. This happened twice, and then Eli advised Samuel to acknowledge God’s voice and listen.

I remember an anniversary I wanted to celebrate with my wife. Money was a little tight at the time. Since we are committed to getting out of debt and staying out of debt, I knew that plastic was not the answer. I needed paper. I asked God if He would provide for our anniversary.

Not long after that someone asked if I would be interested in doing a wedding. I told them that the date wasn’t going to work since there was a family birthday that day. They left to see if another pastor could do the wedding.

A little while later God spoke to me, not audibly, but through an impression. The thought went like this: “Didn’t you ask Me to provide for your anniversary? Then, why did you turn down officiating at that wedding?” Suddenly, the light bulb went on. I may be slow, but I’m not stupid. I immediately contacted the staff member, committed to the wedding, and celebrated our anniversary with the honorarium.

Do you find yourself asking God, but not really expecting an answer to your prayer? You’re not in Sunday school here. You can give an honest answer.

God delights in giving to His children. This is not in some overboard Name It and Claim It, shouldn’t-the-King’s-kids-drive-fancy-European-cars sort of angle to make you healthy, wealthy and wise. But, God loves you. Jesus said that He knows what we need before we even ask (Matthew 6:8).

What do you need these days? After you ask, pay attention to what happens next. The answer might be right in front of your face.