If he calls you, then you must say, "speak Lord for your servant hears." – 1 Samuel 3:9
Discerning God's voice from the trillion others calling out to us has never been more important that now! The ability to distinguish truth from lie and harmless from harmful must rank among the most profound skills any parent can impart to their children.
The Biblical story of Samuel reveals that there can be no true authority without obedience and that true obedience is preceded by the ability to discern the Father's voice. Only when Eli was able to name the Source of the whisper, Samuel was able to respond in obedience. The result was a life of adherence to the will of God; seeing Samuel become one of the most trusted prophets in ancient Israel.
Good friends of ours recently heard their 4-year old boy point out that something was not right with the children's story he was watching. Upon investigation they discovered that there were indeed strong undertones of magic and witchcraft in the seemingly innocent infant-story. Both parents seized the opportunity to explain to him that his uneasiness was no figment of his imagination, but indeed the small whispering voice of the Lord Himself. Adhering to this voice in future, they explained, will not only keep him out of harm's way, but set him up to run in the favour of the Almighty.
The future that awaits our children promises to be even more complex and intricate than the one we inherited. Without the ability to hear and obey the voice of God on a daily basis, future generations will find it increasingly difficult to navigate their way through the booby trapped mine-fields of modern-day living. As the ones called to partner with God in preparing our children for that reality, the importance of assisting them in adhering to His voice cannot be over-emphasized. Needless to say, this calls for us to lead by example in an area that has fallen prey to serious neglect!
Perhaps the words of the old Hymn by J D Burns must be prayed over ourselves first, before doing so over our children!
Oh! Give me Samuel's ear,
An open ear, O Lord
Alive and quick to hear
Each whisper of Thy Word;
Like him to answer to Thy call
And to obey Thee first of all.