Tepidness in prayer and decrease in hope - How do you deal with it?

About two months ago, I reverted back into the faith and started to try to have a serious prayer life. I very much wanted to turn my life around to love God. After a few confessions, I started to pray a rosary every once in a while during the week, but I felt like I wanted to pray more, then moved onto a daily rosary. Praying this daily rosary felt like it was actually helping - that I was going somewhere with my spiritual life. Afterward, then, I decided to try praying a full rosary every day, mysteries placed throughout the day, and for the first few days, it worked well for the first few days.

But now, I don’t really know what happened. I had a lot of fervor and hope (hope being a sort of wanting to love God and to be with Him some day is the way I understand it). Now, though, that fervor and hope have drastically reduced, prayer has become something of a ‘rule’, whereas before I would go into prayer with joy, now I try my hardest to focus and to pay attention but there are so many distractions of the most random things possible.

There are times where I’ll watch a video or read something online and it’ll ignite a spark in me again, and I use that to pray fervently during the day. But when I go to bed and wake up the next day, that fervor and hope totally vanish, and so it feels like I’m on a sort of spiritual escalator. I go up at the same speed that the escalator goes down, or I bounce up and down the escalator but never truly start going up.

What can I do to start going up the escalator faster than it goes down? Anything I can read, any saints to pray to? Thank you in advance for any advice.

‘Your progress in spiritual life does not consist in having the grace of consolation, but in enduring its withdrawal with humility, resignation, and patience, so that you neither become listless in prayer nor neglect your other duties in the least; but on the contrary do what you can do as well as you know how, and do not neglect yourself completely because of your dryness or anxiety of mind.’ - The Imitation of Christ

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That’s normal to go from consolation to desolation in some form or another. The previous poster recommends a good book. Another very simple beginner book to help you fight this (spiritual warfare) is Spiritual warfare and the discernment of spirits - Dan Burke
That is a simple version of St Ignatius spiritual exercises. He gives references to the full works in the book.

We all go through Consolation and Desolation. It’s helped me to realise in desolate times that it’s almost like a Ferris wheel that moves at different speeds and when you get to the bottom, there’s a chance you are on the trajectory back up to the top at some point soon (and with it, consolation). Accept the desolate times and don’t struggle to hard against them. For me, saying, “Ok. I have doubts right now. I feel abandoned or like I’m paying lip service but I’m gonna go ahead and pray anyway and not judge myself or my God for these feelings.” is helpful.

How about community? Do you have a community of faithful around you? This is something I’ve struggled with since the churches had to close so I went online and joined in Zoom groups etc. I created projects to work with other Catholics on whilst in a period of desolation and…what do you know? I came right out of it…maybe as I was drawn out of my own thoughts and mind. Other Catholics can be so insightful. Something they’ll say or a piece of music or a book recommendation can just open up things again and be consoling or validating.

Reading the autobiographies of the Saints can help. Mother Teresa and St Therese of Lisieux had real issues with desolation…and they became Saints (even a Doctor of the Church!).

You will come out the other side…and God will be there, as he always has, loving you with his whole heart.

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This. It’s okay to feel what you’re feeling, OP. God doesn’t ask that we be happy or uplifted all the time, because He knows that’s just not how life works. Jesus certainly wasn’t happy or uplifted when He was carrying the Cross, after all.

God does ask that we try to seek our peace in Him, every day, and that we simply keep going forward. You’ll find yourself in happy moments and in sad moments, or unsure, or tired, or angry moments, all through life. You’ll come through the dark ones and into the light and vice versa, but your peace and understanding of the world and your place in it will grow, enabling you to help yourself and others when needed. Then, when the time comes at the end of days, you’ll be ready to leave the dark times behind forever, your peace as a guide to Him (and the peace that you helped others to find a guide for them, too).

Love you. Just take it a day at a time.

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