So, I can see you're not getting this... Think of every diet plan on the face of Earth. What do they all have in common? Carbs?, Protein?, Greens?, Calories?, No, no, no, and no! What they all try to do is limit your intake of fats. Trans, or saturated, vegetable or animal, they all hate fat. Pounce(!) Right here! So, when you are hungry (or think you are, at least); ask yourself what will "satisfy"? And the answer is, "the wrong stuff"! The idea of ice cream, the reality of Fritos, the stunning presence of french fries "talks to you". We don't have a "sweet-tooth", it's a fat-tooth(!); and only grease, fat, lard, Crisco, or (prepare yourself) Butter will do! So you want some fat? Eat some! That was the idea, what do you think? Are you wowed?
When hungry, and it is not yet meal-time, just put about a half of a "pat" of butter in your mouth. It's like (maybe) 8 calories or something? A whole tablespoon of butter (never margarine!) is about 20 or 30 calories. I don't know that it's all-so-true, but some woman told me once that margarine is "one molecule removed from being another form of vinyl". Even if it's not true, it's still a good story. After you coat your tongue with a dab of the stuff, your brain (somehow) registers..."Fat requested, fat found, turn off the hunger alarm". Appetite suppression then; is NOT a matter of "will-power" so much as it is simply turning off the "fat-lack alarm" in your head. And the reasonable answer would be to simply coat your tongue with the fat that your body claims it "needs", and thereby fake out the brain... So anyway, there's the future for ya'.
Now; as an ungainly introduction to the topic of prayer, can you guess where I'm headed with this? I don't know about you, but prayer seems to be (mostly) a uni-directional affair. See? I am talking-to, but ain't hearing-from. It's much more a monologue, than ever a dialogue: and to precisely that degree, is not especially interesting. One sided conversations, are by definition, not-a-conversation. Who knew?
Not to wax hyper-critical here; but I'm guessing that this soliloquy gig is the (largely) unspoken reason why prayer meetings in general are so poorly attended. A one-sided conversation, ain't much of one, and any "explanations" here to alleviate distress are usually considered suspect. I'm not a very good theologian (heck; I am not that great a plumber!), but as I grasp the answer of why we do not ordinarily expect to hear-back, it sounds something like: "We believe that the canon is closed". And in my opinion, we have the wrong tool for the job. Our fear here, is that we perhaps might (like some others we could name) start up with a load of blather about hearing "a new word", some addendum to the book of Mormon perhaps? In order to keep that fraud at bay, we are to learn to "settle for" just never expecting a response; is that it?
Consider; if you consistently drive screws with a hammer, you might well conclude: "Driving screws is hard work!"...but so what? Who ever asked you to do the job in that absurd fashion anyhow? To use one tool to do two jobs, might seem like a "good, conservative" thing to do. After all, we have one less thing to lug around! Yet, if it remains a bad fit, and if you keep whacking your fingers, bending screws, and leaving hammer marks all over the work, what part of this fails to tell us to reconsider? The true mess we are making, is with our own lives. When we conclude: "Why bother telling Him anything?", or when we "quit-bothering" to pray, in that we call; and only-ever get a dial tone, this cannot end well for us! The "part" of our own mess that instructs us to reconsider is, "all of it"! If canonicity per se, is what is causing you to just quit praying, thus to blunder through life, feeling all-alone, it isn't thereby a matter of abandoning canon, but of adding to it a new tool! Add to your hammer, a screwdriver already!
I mean here, it isn't a matter of "finding God's will" or some darned thing. We already know too blasted much of that; or if not "too much", surely more than we can ever do. You've read the menu: "Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God. Trust in the Lord, lean not to your own understanding...Give thanks in all things. Fear God, and give Him glory!". So, just let me know when you've finished doing that list, okay? And Bubba, there is a whole slug of these. It's the really really big note He left on the fridge, so that you cannot possibly "miss it" that way.
The moral/ethical divorce is one topic, and canon deals with the sovereign cure for it, but we look for another tool because we are doing another job! How do we hunker down to find the "want-to"; or how do we go about beginning to desire what in fact; we do not? And canon applied here is leaving all kinds of moose tracks on the wood. Quit swinging that hammer in order to drive this screw; you're messing up the wood! So then, "Doing the right thing", can have a secondary meaning; and here the "right thing" is to be "damned glad"(!); to "roar with a joy eternal", and so, a kind of heart surgery to restore ferocity is in order.
The good news of "hearing-back" from Him, proves to be a kind of communion, a partnership, and is just the rocket-fuel of motivation our sad lives require. Let's face it, we do hear-back. Normally, the Word-preached, is applied to the life, and there, He does "makes contact". Further, within us; the Spirit is faithful to bring to memory all The King taught. Think back, haven't also there been times in the past that friends who know-best your patterns, seem to (briefly) possess uncanny insight on an issue, over which you are being pulled apart...again? So, it is definitely not the case that we must first get our "spiritual act together" prior to hearing-back. It's more like we are saying: "Why (Sir) do You keep talking about that stuff anyhow, can't we just move on to what I'd like to discuss?". Let's assume here, that there are several ways to hear-back; but one of the weirdest is the most obvious. It's like your nose. You never notice that it forms (your nose that is) the center of your field of vision (HOW you see!), until somebody else reminds you.
Inside Protestantism, a big theme early on was to translate the Bible into "vulgar tongues". Uh, did you say vulgar? Hey I do that! But jokes aside, the premise was that God's word was not "high-toned", and a latin only scripture kept-out the very folk it was intended to draw in, the peasants!
So skip (for a moment) the idea of content, and recall "tone". Mothers, think back to when the short-dude (your son) had to be told: "Don't you dare use that tone with me, young man!". The nose-feature here, is that we can (to a degree) detect His tone, in voices around us, and even (occasionally) in our own! It's a bit like those testimonies that others have that say: "I can see Jesus in you".
The grudge match of five centuries ago, included "vulgar tongues" (this is where you come in) giving glory. Things haven't changed much. It remains the deal, and yet; we keep thinking that some expert is going to show up to do it instead. We imagine that pretty speech, inoffensive talk, soft-edged "encouraging" gum-flapping is "godly". You know the drill. Listen to those radio-Christians, those "spiritual-giants" on TV. So, what's with all those rounded vowels? Since when are Bible teachers in the business of "making suggestions" rather than fierce and loyal assertions? Do you notice among the smooth, the near constant use of the rising inflection? Everything is a question? It makes me want to puke over here? It's brainless junk? And finally, do we detect a southern accent, a "soft-indoors" kind of voice there Bub? Is that your official-spiritual voice, or what?
Now, stand in front of a mirror and you try using the official "spiritual tone" of voice we've noted here. Doesn't that kind of talk make you feel like a phoney? Doesn't all that oozing sweetness make a guy want to laugh and go drink beer? Artificial though it be, just try to picture talking to your Maker with that mouth-racket! But wouldn't we have watch for stray lightning bolts if I break out with all of those "craps" and "damns" that I've grown so fond of using over the years! Okay, point taken, but isn't there room here somewhere to retain "tone", and lose the colorful vocabulary? Try praying that way. How bad could it be?
So, for today only; hearing-back linked to tone, will describe our orbit. Think disgust, outrage, anger, you know, all that material that is by definition "tone"?. Further, has it ever happened, that you listen to your brother, and you say: "You sound just like Dad!". The ever slenderer premise here then is; that we can hear-back from Him, in OUR own tone of voice(!)...at least sometimes. We can hear dim whispers of His Outrage, His Anger His Ferocity, in our tiny model of the real-deal! Who knew? Further, we find this sort of thing to be disturbing, and frightening, and so "tend" to minimize here. Not convinced? Try this out.
Do you recall George W. Bush? Early on in the Iraq affair; he sent word to the Imams, Mullahs and assorted poobahs of Islam. His message? "Tell them we serve the same god". Excuse me, but does G.W. stand "George Walker", or "Gutless Wonder"? Are you trying to tell me, that believers in the Lord Jesus are (with you!) saying that we serve the "the SAME god" as those murdering cultists? Hell No! Never! We say: "Tell them instead, "Your sawed-off runt 'god' (who denies the Trinity, and therefore the Incarnation) couldn't find his own butt with radar! He, and therefore your moron "prophet", deny the only hope of mankind, the atonement at Calvary! How low CAN you go? You tell those fools, to tell the demon they serve, "Your days are numbered, pee-wee!"
Did you note the difference in tone? All that pookie about "being careful not to offend our co-religionists" kinda migrated right out the window eh? How about speaking from the heart George? How about a dime's worth of integrity? Face it; that Mohammed guy died, and went to hell (where he belongs!). There is no God but YAHWEH, and there is no hope for us, but His Son. To blatantly lie to the Muslims, dishonors your Maker, plus sending those deceived souls to judgement without a hope in hell! How's about them apples George?
Bearing (in us) the emotional freight of jealousy over the Name then, allows a hint, a whisper of how He talks! What if learning to do this is one of the big lessons of prayer in the first place? Has anyone, anywhere ever discussed this? No? Then perhaps you are in on two ground floor offers! The taste, the flavor, the aroma of Christ is upon His folk. Sure, it affects what they say, but also HOW they say it. We search not for "new revelation", but for the "want-to", to live our lives oriented toward Him, and precisely here is our problem! To "bring glory", is to "say with gusto", (to possess a pair), to talk that way, and mean it! We thus sound like: "I object! What do you mean by..."If God exists"? Who (in hell) are you mister, to spit in the Savior's face? Take it back!! NOW!". And see, from my vulgar mouth, we can detect a whisper of how He talks, we hear-back, a small token of His tone.
The gospel of screwdrivers is a bit like the Butter diet. We take a tiny bit, in our mouth, and it serves to satisfy ...until mealtime! The flavor, the coat upon the tongue, reminds you of real food. It is a hint, and for today it's enough, but not forever! Soft speech only, butter in the mouth only-ever, is a tool of the enemy. Our Captain speaks forthrightly, with Him we await a banquet, featuring real food, with real people present, who talk right! Lots of people are capable of vulgar speech. That's too easy, it's like falling off a log. The "trick" is to detect that "no-class Hillbilly", that "unemployed Carpenter's" voice. He is unmistakable, once you've become accustomed to His voice. He talks right...at alarming levels! He does not "make mistakes", and His call upon His own never fails. What a Champ! He is "heart medicine"...in Person!