Preparation: You will need: tables with pens, paper, postcards, notelets - anything you can use to write a nice note to someone; semaphore alphabet on a slide show; flags; PowerPoint presentation here; screen and projector; Bible (Contemporary English Version or similar); two volunteers to share their (different) stories of how God has spoken to them; two or three volunteers who can describe how they talk and listen to God; a range of resources to help people hear from God (Bibles, prophetic ministry team, storytellers, creative prayer activities - whatever is part of your church tradition) and teams to help facilitate this.

Prayer and worship activity

Option 1

5 minutes

Set up tables around your meeting area, with pens, paper, postcards, notelets etc. As people arrive, ask them to write a note to someone in the church family, their own family or someone they haven’t seen for a while. What do they want to say? As people write, ask them to think about whether the receiver will recognise them from the way they write - both their handwriting and the way they use words.

When everyone has finished, encourage them to give the notes to the recipients (if they are in church) or to post them if they live far away. If you can afford it, you could give out stamps to those who need them.

Option 2

5 minutes

Play a communication game to help the congregation think more about communication. Invite a couple of volunteers to the front and give them two flags each. Challenge them to use semaphore to pass on a message to the rest of the congregation. Put the alphabet up on the screen and, working individually or in small groups, challenge the congregation to decode the message. The messages might be: “Today we have cake”, “The first song is ‘Majesty’” or “Samuel! Samuel!”

Alternatively, you could use the messages in a game of Chinese Whispers, or encourage people from your congregation who speak different languages to say the same sentence. How easy or difficult is it to understand?


10 minutes

Show the PowerPoint presentation of the Bible passage from links. The progression of the slides should go as follows:

Slides 1-5: verses 1-2

Slides 6-8: verses 3-4

Slides 9-10: verse 5

Slides 11-14: verse 6

Slides 15-18: verses 8-9

Slide 19-21: verse 10

Slide 22: verse 11

Slide 23: verse 15

Slide 24: verse 17

Slide 25: verse 18

Side 26: verse 19

Practise before the service so that the person operating the PowerPoint changes the slides at the appropriate times. Read the Bible passage out to the congregation (or ask someone to do this for you). As you read, show the PowerPoint so that everyone can follow along.

Reflective response to the story

Option 1

10 minutes

Invite two or three volunteers to tell you about how they hear from God. Interview the volunteers and draw out how differently those people have heard from God in the past. Try to find a mix of volunteers with stories that might connect well with people of all ages and backgrounds. Aim for stories that are about the big things (changing direction in career, moving to a new place) and the smaller things (helping someone in need, donating money to charity). If you can find a family who listens to God together, that would be a good story to tell.

Option 2

15 minutes

Around your meeting space, set out different stations where people can go to think about how they might hear from God. This might include leading a short, interactive Bible study, having some people give prophetic words or setting out different prayer activities (such as liturgy, creative prayer or guided meditation).

Encourage everyone to visit the different areas to learn more about listening to God and hearing what he says. Give time for everyone to have a go. At the end of this part of the service, gather everyone back together and ask if anyone would like to share what God has said to them today.

Group discussion questions

10 minutes

Split into mixed-age groups and discuss these questions, making sure everyone, from the youngest to the oldest, is able to give their view:

  • If you were Samuel, what would you have thought when you first heard God’s voice?
  • How has God spoken to you recently?
  • What have you discovered today about the way God speaks with his people?
  • What have you discovered about God that you didn’t know before?

Supporting documents

Click link to download and view these files