No Joy in Prayer

Hi there everyone. I always know I can come to CAF for help, and I think the Spirituality subform is the place for this thread.

I feel as of late that I’m not getting anything out of my faith. I go to Mass every Sunday, pray every day, but I feel nothing. I know our faith shouldn’t be based on how we feel, but It seems to me that I have no relationship with God, or the saints.

There is no joy in prayer for me; I do it because I know its right and I should. I have a hard time experiencing Mass as Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

I just feel…lost and don’t know what to do. Could anyone offer any advice/prayers?

Have you read “Dark Night of the Soul” yet?

There is no joy in prayer for me; I do it because I know its right and I should.

This is the best reason to keep praying: out of obedience and love for God, “because I know it’s right.” It’s not easy, but it’s a true gift of love when you don’t feel like doing it, yet you do it anyway.

Will :gopray2: for you.

Everyone experiences dryness in prayer. There are different causes of it though.

A really good book to read to understand all this stuff better is ‘The Fulfillment of All Desire’ by Ralph Martin. It’s easy to read and understand and it covers all the bases about prayer and the spiritual journey and what people typically experience spiritually and why.

Dear Domnall,

You said it yourself…“I know our faith shouldn’t be based on how we feel,…”

Keep on praying and doing all the spiritual things you do, and obey the Lord. The spiritual book recommended above is very good for learning about the journey of prayer to the Lord. The Lord can test us this way, to see if we praise and love Him without the good feelings. When the time is right He will grant you a deeper peace. :slight_smile:

One method that helps me both with understanding and in prayer is to read books on the subject. One that I am reading right now, The Fire Within by Fr. Thomas Dubay is a worthwhile read.

Studying scripture in different prayer forms, using imaginative prayer or writing a spiritual reflection is another good way of dealing with dryness with alternative prayer methods.

I have had many periods of this dryness or “dark night of the soul”. While we long for the consolation that comes with a “rewarded” prayer, this is also an essential part of our spiritual growth. God is filling you with grace as you pray and go to Mass even though you cannot detect it.

The rewards when you exit this period will be greater, its like a ride into outer space, at times you have long periods of darkness and silence, then you travel through a new galaxy filled with light and beauty.

Hang on for the ride. I am praying for you as I write this.

How do you pray, Domnell? Try something different.

Going through this myself. It is horrible.

Great replies from everyone :thumbsup:

We need to develop our relationship with Jesus by prayer, talking with Him, listening to Him. Advancing your relationship does not always necessarily mean you have to be in prayer. You can be anywhere, anytime, doing anything and be in communion with Jesus.

Talk to Him while you are relaxing on the couch having a beer or glass of wine. Talk to Him while driving, walking, bicycling, working out, etc…

The most difficult thing is to hear the whispers of His answers in a world filled with constant noise. Believe me…His words rarely come in a lightning bolt, but in a whisper; or we may see something that is a message as we pass by.

Great joy can come from reading scripture and making use of spiritual writings, but not all the time for most people.

Pray to our Blessed Mother…Pray the Rosary. (only one decade if you are having difficulty) As you begin to hear the whispers and see the signs as you proceed during your day, you will begin to become more comfortable in prayer again.

Get yourself a subscription to Magnificat or a similar publication to help you begin to pray through out the day. There is morning, evening, and nightime prayer; along with the daily Mass and small biographies of the Saints daily. This will be a good next step.

The main thing is watch and listen. Listen for the whispers. Look for a message in everyday sights (however ordinary they may be) God answers us in so many ways that often go unnoticed because we are out of tune due to the intrusion of the secular world.

Give it a try…


This is exactly what I was going to say! It’s an even more loving act to pray when you don’t want to than if you always feel a connection every time you pray. Spiritual dryness is normal. Persevere. You’ll get that connection again. Sometimes I try to say new prayers or change the order I say prayers in, just to keep things from getting mundane. Prayers for you!!

Prayers for you, too!!

Something I just came across in my morning readings…

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Thoughts In Solitude
Thomas Merton

I believe this applies here…

God bless you

That is so nice :thumbsup:

Yes, lots of good advice so far.

Just a few things I would add:

  1. As you said, not about feelings, although feelings are part of who we are and God knows this. Think, “Fact, Faith, Feeling” to help keep it straight. We start with fact that Jesus lived, died and rose from the dead, he loves you and wants you to open your heart to him and be forgiven. We have faith that he means what he has said in scripture and tradition and we can trust him. This often leads to feelings of peace and joy inside us. But when you mix up the order, you get into trouble. Make sense?

  2. You mentioned mass and private prayer. But you don’t mention confession or Bible reading. When we get into sin, it’s 100 times more likely we will stray from God and have trouble being aware of his presence. Bible reading is crucial and, sadly, too often neglected by Catholics. Even in “dry” times, if we have a good habit of reading our Bible, we will hear from God each day. Even a few psalms each morning and a few chapters of the gospels each night is a big help. I think it’s Fr. Larry Richards who says “No Bible no breakfast, no Bible no bed.” I tell everyone that when they ask about staying close to God.

  3. Don’t overlook the most obvious things- you don’t have to be protestant to “pray to receive Jesus as your Lord and savior.” Many of us Catholics have had a meaningful conversion experience at some point whether in confession, after a tough time in our lives, or whatever. It’s just a fancy way of saying we realize God is real and we submit to his love and authority, instead of going away from him. Repent means turn around. But why wonder? Close your eyes and talk to Jesus- make sure you’re given him the keys to your life and thanked him for going to the cross for you. It may break down a barrier in your spiritual walk.

Don’t ever forget, GOD LOVES YOU and DESIRES THAT YOU BE SAVED. The Bible says God showed his love for us by the cross- anything he does to show his love and his presence in our lives beyond that is an amazing blessing and icing on our cake!

You’re gonna be fine. :wink:

I often feel like I’m not getting anything out of praying or why should I keep on doing it when I feel so blah about it sometimes. I keep it up because I know it is what I should be doing. The urges and feelings to stop and give up or why bother are evil thoughts from the devil. He’s trying to get you to stop praising and worshiping God and if you do stop, then he wins and that’s a victory for him. Do you want him to have that? I don’t and that makes me pray all the more and harder.

Perseverance and strong faith. I know it is always going to be a rough road to travel on and bumpy and full of pot holes but I also know that Our Lord suffered more for us and I am determined to prove to Jesus that I love him whatever road I have to travel on

I highly recommend that you make your consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and that you have a strong devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I feel confident that if you do these two practices you will be freed from your current painful situation. An excellent book that I am reading about the Sacred Heart devotion which you should read is: The Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, by Fr. John Croiset, S.J… Pray to Mary for help in your situation and have confidence that she can and will help you. She is your loving mother and wants you to invoke her for her maternal and very powerful help. God bless you.

There are times when looking at the crucifix while praying helps to keep focus on Jesus. A good image of Jesus or Mary will also help. I believe our mind sometimes is just not up to doing much thinking, because we are tired or are not emotionally all there for some reason. Even looking at the crucifix on our rosary will help in those times.

This is why the stations of the cross are so good. There is a piture at each station before our eyes to help us in our thought. Being human, we are subject to fatigue and monotony and so the words become routine and dull after a while.

I have found that prayer in the morning is so much better when my mind is fresh, and since my mind is ready, ideas and thoughts come much more alive.

But whatever the condition we find our mind in, grace in our life does depend on our prayers.
For Jesus is the source of all goodness and grace, and nothing comes except thru him. If we forget this, then we are in for a very big dissappointment in our life of grace.

So the bottom line is, there are some things we can do to improve our prayers, but regardless of how we feel, we always need grace, and therefore we must always pray.

Just some thoughts.

“There are deeds you alone must do, there are words only you can say, trust in me and do not tremble, for I go with you to show you the way.” (hymn)

I would begin by thanking and praising God for allowing this period of dryness in your life, trusting through your faith in His infinite wisdom, and asking Him to use this time in your life to teach you. He could be trying to build you in patience. He may be trying to give you empathy for the very many people who have no joy in anything in life. That’s just two possibilities. There are many others and only He knows. Take joy in this temporal suffering. It starts with the decision of being thankful, and praiseful to the Lord in all circumstance. This advice is very much Scripturally supported.

Another excellent point from Deus tecum…

Our posture must always be one of thanksgiving and praise. If we start thinking we are approaching prayer or the mass to “see what we get” out of the experience, we’re on the wrong foot, so to speak.

He created me. He loves me. He has saved me from my sins. I aim to be obedient to him. Our relationship goes forward from there!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. (Eph 1:3) :smiley:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit