I miss hearing the voice of God. The silence may be due to my own thought process. I decided several years ago not to provide both sides of the conversation and assume one of them was God. I wanted him to speak with his own vocabulary, tone and syntax in a way that was objectively different from my thoughts.
Turns out the Spirit may not work like that.
Anthropologist T. M. Luhrmann studied prayer among Evangelicals in general and Vineyard Churches in particular. Her research shows the importance of vigorous mental training to bifurcate (look it up) the mind as a perquisite to a sense of communion:
In effect people train the mind in such a way that they experience part of their mind as the presence of God. They learn to reinterpret the familiar experiences of their own minds and bodies as not being their own at all—but God’s. They learn to identify some thoughts as God’s voice, some images as God’s suggestions, some sensations as God’s touch or the response to his nearness. They construct God’s interactions out of these personal mental events, mapping the abstract concept “God” out of their mental awareness into a being they imagine and reimagine in ways shaped by the Bible and encouraged by their church community. – When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God
I don’t have a problem with prayer and meditation being 95% mental; few people see or hear God with their eyes and ears. I just wanted some aspect of it to be objective instead of interpretative.
Is this critical approach self-defeating? Have I turned off the radio and then become frustrated because I no longer hear anything? Or is deciding some of my thoughts are actually God’s words to me a form of self-delusion?
What do you think?