Experiencing 'dryness' of Prayer

I’ve recently experienced what I think people call “dryness” of their prayers where they don’t get that felling of comfort and connection that I’ve experienced a lot in my prayers up to now. Naturally it’s difficult to describe but you’re doing everything as you’ve done in prayer before but don’t feel a connection.

Has anyone experienced this in their own prayer lives and have you any tips in sticking through it and rekindling the connection of prayer?

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Everyone I know who has a committed prayer life goes through “dry” periods. I have just recently. The first times it happened I freaked out and thought I was doing something wrong. Several things helped me to overcome that early scrupulosity but a major resource that I would recommend is the spiritual discernment rules of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Here is a link to a very devout priest explaining each one: https://www.discerninghearts.com/catholic-podcasts/fr-timothy-gallagher-discernment-of-spirits/ I really really recommend this to all who have a regular prayer life or want to start one!

Just know that God always loves you, no matter how dark the times may seem. God never leaves, that thought is a lie from the pits of hell, literally.

God bless, God loves you, and God’s peace be with you!

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Dryness in prayer, is, in my opinion, actually a good sign. When you start to love God more, you have to start loving other things less. And when that happens, you start to feel the sadness of letting go of those things that are not God.

Now the fact that a man prefers the good of grace to all natural goods, the loss of which may cause sorrow, is to be referred to [the theological virtue of] charity, which loves God above all things. (St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, II-II, Q. 136, A. 3)

Dryness in prayer is, at least in my experience, when I start feeling the sadness of letting go of things not God more than the joy of loving God. This is just natural and could even be preter- or supernatural, in reference to @TotallyCatholicTeen’s mentioning of St. Ignatius of Loyola’s discernment of spirits, by God withdrawing His consolation so that not only we can appreciate the price of loving Him, but to complete our letting go of the things that we have to let go.

Sadness is our souls’ way of processing the grief of letting go. If we want to let go of the things that hinder us from God, then we have to be patient and go through this sadness that is “dryness of prayer”.

So the tip for countering dryness of prayer is just keep on praying!

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Saint after Saint experienced what you are experiencing, yet persevered. This will not be an initially satisfying answer. Since our faith does not rely on consolation, what we can do is recall with great love those times when we felt consolation and: pray anyway.

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Don’t fret - it may even become worse. :hugs: In addition to aridity, there may be continual numerous distractions, so that the person believes their prayer is totally useless in God’s eyes, and is tempted to abandon it.

In Spiritual Combat, which was St. Francis deSales’ daily exercise in reading, the author (Dom Scupoli) gave very encouraging advice.

Can we not see that the uneasiness which arises from such interior aridity
can only spring from a desire of being altogether acceptable to
God
and zealous and fervent in His service? Such uneasiness
rarely happens at the beginning of one’s conversion to the service
of God; rather it is found in those who have already consecrated
themselves for some time to the Master, and are resolved to
travel the paths of perfection.
On the contrary, we seldom hear the inveterate sinner or the
worldling complain of such temptations.
Thus we may well believe that these trials constitute a precious food by which God nourishes those whom He loves.

Stay the course, no matter how empty and dry you may feel.

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Thanks for your advice guys.

TotallyCatholicTeen: this is something similar to my current situation as I’ve only returned to prayer over recent months and I feel that slight sense of panic in that something must be wrong or lacking in my prayers.

Heavenward: it may be a good thing as definitely my interest in worldly things has decreased over the months since I’ve returned to Mass and prayer. I think there could be some sorrow or resistance there of the old habits. I will have a look at St. Ignatius of Loyola’s methods as these may help.

Sirach2: I’m not tempted to abandon prayer as I was aware that there would be times when this would occur but it is very much a new experience for me. I will stay the course, as po18guy noted, many of our Saints have experienced many years in the spiritual wilderness before they received their wisdom.

I plan to start with a spiritual director shortly as I want to develop my spirituality further as I think it’s an area I’ve always had but have neglected for many years. Hopefully they will be able to help with this and other areas for improvement.

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You got a lot of great advice, @Sirach2 @po18guy and @Heavenward seem to be very experienced in the spiritual life and deep in spiritual reading. I would also like to say, congratulations! You are pursuing Jesus very genuinely and faithfully, God is working powerfully in you and through you! A spiritual director is awesome for anyone on this arduous but amazing and love filled adventure to full intimacy with Christ!

For a simple summary on prayer life I would suggest Matthew Leonard’s Prayer Works! but for a really deep and utterly amazing book on the depths of intimacy with God I would recommed Fr. Thomas Dubay’s Fire Within. That book sets me on fire every time I read it!

Spiritualdirection.com is also a great place to read articles and listen to podcasts on the life of prayer. I feel prompted by God to warn you about scrupulosity and perfectionism, which I really struggled/struggle with. In short, what I’ve had to learn is, we can not earn God’s love; and we don’t have to. God’s love is incredible, He loves right where we are, and never tires of forgiving us! And there is no way to perfect ourselves, only God can do it within us, so we must depend completely on Him and never despair. (I also recommend St. Therese of Liseux’s Story of a Soul, which many people say has changed their lives!)

God bless you! I’m praying for you!

I guess my only ‘tip’ would be to persevere, which for me might look two different ways depending on the kind of prayer:

  1. Spontaneous prayer: I’m probably going to spend an unusual number of prayers starting the conversation with: “Hi God, so You know I’m feeling lonely or like I can’t feel you with me right now, but I do know you’re there… I guess maybe Jesus felt like this on the cross, when he asked why you had forsaken him? But maybe not, I dunno. Anyway, I’m not feeling anything right now… but I mean, thank you for the blessings you gave me today, like my health and ____, and please help my friend __ with this need she has… and just, thank you for being ‘You’ and being so beautiful and good even though I can’t see you right now. I know you are.” <-- basic gist, just start the conversation off acknowledging that you don’t feel anything, then see where the conversation goes from there. I tend to find that listing things I intellectually know are gifts from God (in my life or someone else’s life) can help get the ball rolling.
  2. Structured Prayer: e.g. if the rosary? The rosary is pretty straightforward to pray, even if not ‘feeling’ a connection, because so much of it involves ‘thinking’ (or at least can be done in that way). So spend extra time thinking about each mystery, and maybe give thanks to God for His actions in it.

And as ever, offer up your prayers to God even when they’re dry – especially when they’re dry. When we find ourselves saying… “This is all I have to give you right now, God. But here it is,” that seems like a special kind of offering to me.

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One classic spiritual book that seems to benefit each and every soul which reads, ponders and prays its contents is Divine Intimacy by Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalen. It is not inexpensive, but is finely constructed and will last a lifetime. It’s wisdom and spirituality will bring eternal benefit. All in all, a rather good deal.

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Thank you for your response. You will be pleased to know that I have both Story of a Soul and Fire Within. Yes, they are excellent spiritual guides.

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