We all experience periods of dryness in our prayer lives. What is important, according to many of the Saints such as John of the Cross and St. Francis De Sales, is that we continue to pray. Often God will give us great joy as we first begin our conversion process, but then gradually allow that feeling to disappear. It is during those dry times that we must persevere in our devotion, remembering that we are not praying in order to feel good, but rather to worship The Lord.
When we go through these periods in our lives, everything looks bleak. We often lose our sense of hope and peace, feeling that God isn’t listening to our prayers. In general, we just don’t “feel anything” and may even be tempted to stop praying. While there is no doubt that this lack of feeling may be part of The Lord’s plan for spiritual growth, sometimes the answer is much simpler…we’re tired!
In my own life, I have encountered this problem many times. I’ll start to lose my motivation for praying and doing spiritual reading. Daily chores and responsibilities start to weigh me down. My previous hope in God’s providence is replaced by anxiety. Finally, I’ll realize that I need to get more sleep and instantly I start to think more clearly. I can’t recall how many times a good night’s sleep has restored my hopefulness and put me back on track.
The next time you start to lose your desire for prayer and begin to slip into despair, try getting some rest and see what happens. If it doesn’t go away, God may be putting you to the test and you should continue praying. If the dryness subsides, your body was simply telling you that it needed a rest. Remembering this simple exercise will save you a lot of grief and keep you focused on what’s really important…your relationship with The Lord.