The Lord Calls Samuel
1 Samuel 3:1-21
Teaching Point: We must always be ready to listen to what God has to say to us.
I remember hearing this story as a young child and getting shivers when I thought of God's voice calling the boy Samuel in the darkness. This story is powerful when you read it straight out of the Bible. The suspense is built right in. Be sure and give your listeners some background on Samuel - How did he end up living in the temple? Who is Eli?
There are many truths in this story that you can use for your main teaching point. The part that stands out to me is, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening." so my main teaching point would be: We must always be ready to listen to what God has to say to us.
For younger children with shorter attention spans I would read verses 1-11 & 19-21, leaving out the harsh prophecy concerning Eli's sons. But for older children, especially if they are familiar with Eli's story, I would include verses 12-18. These verses show that our actions have consequences and Eli's statement of absolute trust in verse 18 is powerful.
Story Activity: Did you call me? Divide the children into two groups. One group can be Eli and the other Samuel. Have all of the Elis go to sleep on one side of the room and all of the Samuels go to sleep on the other side of the room. The teacher or the parent can read the voice of God. Follow the directions given in the story: Call Samuel, Samuel wakes up and says- "Here I am" then runs and wakes up Eli, Eli wakes up and says - "I didn't call you, go back to bed", Samuel goes back to sleep. Follow the sequence given in scripture for the second and third times that God calls. End with Samuel saying to God - "Speak for your servant is listening." Then switch parts.
Memory Verse: "Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening." 1 Samuel 3:9 (Older children may memorize the entire verse)
Verse Activity: As a group practice saying the verse a few times. Have the children lie down on the floor and pretend to sleep. Go to each child and say that child's name. The child should jump up and excitedly say, "Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening." 1 Samuel 3:9. Help the children with the reference if they need it. It might be a helpful (and fun) example if you pretend to be asleep first and let the children call your name.