And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21 ESV
‘‘Can You Hear Me Now?’’ ad campaign was created by Bozell, a New York-based ad agency that operated as part of the Interpublic Group of Companies. The television spots starred actor Paul Marcarelli as a Verizon field tester who dropped in on locations ranging from the outlandish to the mundane. In each spot, he asked, ‘‘Can you hear me now?’’ into a mobile phone. After hearing an affirmation, Testman, as Marcarelli’s character was dubbed, replied, ‘‘Good!’’ By 2003 Verizon was spending $300 to $400 million annually on the ‘‘Can You Hear Me Now?’’ campaign, with an additional $700 to $800 million on direct mail and in-store promotions.
Believers should be assured that God hears all their prayers and is inclined to answer their petitions according to His perfect will. Prayer is a two steps process. During the first step, we are invited to bring our petitions to God in a spirit of worship. When we respond to God’s invitation to fellowship with Him in prayer, He welcomes our fellowship with Him and delights in our reverence of His Holy name.
Because the Almighty is a Holy God, we can only come before Him in Spirit and in truth. Thus, we should always confess and repent during prayer so the Holy Spirit can intercede for us according to God’s perfect will. The Holy Spirit purifies our motives and sanctifies our souls so we can enter the presence of God to hear what He has to say to us.
During the second step, however, God is speaking to us and responding to our petitions, and giving us feedback about the content and intent of our prayer, also about the disposition of our spirits when we pray. Thus, we can say prayer is intended to teach us about God’s holy expectations while preparing us to become more effective in communicating with Him.
During the second step of the prayer exercise, God asks, “can you hear me now?” That question is asked of every petitioner. However, many people do not hear it because their spiritual ears are clogged with the cares of this world. Indeed, whenever we pray, God wants us to hear His delight about our desire to commune with Him intimately in prayer. The Lord wants us to hear His answer to our petitions. At times, He may want to remind us of His promises and purposes for our lives.
In today’s text, Isaiah reminds the Israelites when “they were prosperous and comfortable, they wouldn’t listen to God. Now, God gave them the bread of adversity and water of affliction, but they could hear God and be guided by Him again.” Unfortunately, God often goes to extremes for us to hear Him. At times, we pray, then without hearing the answer from God we take actions without divine instructions or direction. When we hit the proverbial brick wall, we go back to God wondering what went wrong. Then God allows us to eat the bread of adversity and drink the water of affliction so we can hear His voice.
When the answer to our prayer is delayed it is because God is asking, “can you hear me now?” Those who can hear the Lord are not discouraged when they trod the stony roads of life. They remain faithful and encouraged because they know all things will work together for their good. When you pray, can you hear God say, trust me, I am the supplier of every need and the source of every blessing? Can you hear God say, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning,” when your loved one is dead, and you need God’s comforting grace? Can you hear Him sing spiritual lullabies to you when your heart is broken? Yes, the Lord always responds to every petition. But can you hear Him now?
Questions for Personal Reflection
How do you know when God is speaking to you?
Why do you struggle to hear the voice of God?
Prayer- Blessed Lord, please help me to remain tuned to the frequency of your voice so I can hear your response to my petitions. Help me to appreciate the second step in the prayer exercise as much as I delight in bringing my petitions before you. May I not grow weary when the answer to my prayer is delayed.