When you can't pray


Prayer is the lifeblood of our soul. People pray when prayer is productive and yields satisfaction of insights and good feelings. But what happens when the well runs dry? Do you have this experience?


People pray because prayer is a soul’s life, not because of good things or rewards. And when the soul dose not pray, it becomes more vulneable to temptation and it loses God.


Ah the desert experience…I think it is when our prayer is dry that it is most pleasing to God. It’s easy to pray amidst consolations, but it takes perseverance to continue praying when there is seemingly no “reward” in it. When we continue to pray through the dryness, we show that we truly love God. If we give up the prayer when we lose the consolations, then we have a self-interested love that seeks rewards. True love suffers for another.


I am sure all who pray must have experienced dryness at certain point. When our prayers seem to be stale, keep on praying anyway. Just do it. Most likely the dryness will pass if we continue to seek the Lord. This is by God’s grace, of course.


Very often we look at prayer as those formulas that we recite. Prayer is much more than that. It is about relationship. It is conversation. Sometimes we are called simply to listen. That in itself can be difficult. Since we are also called to love God not only with our mind, but also with all our heart and strength, our daily routine can itself become prayer. This daily routine can indeed seem mundane. It is one of the reason I so much liked my mother’s kitchen prayer. It began with "Oh Lord, of pots and pans and things, make my grumbling cease…"
There was a time when I was so angry at God, I told him to “leave me alone,” something that I will never do again. I guess what I am getting at is the importance of being honest with God. "God, I don’t really feel like spending time with you right now, but here I am. Things are not going the way I would like them, but here I am. Even though I may not feel your loving presence at this time, here I am. Help me during this period of trial and darkness, for here I am. Like Samuel, I say “Here I am Lord. Speak, for your servant is listening. Tell me what you would have me do and help me do it I trust in you, without whom I am nothing with no place to go. ‘You have the words of eternal life.’.”


Every soul goes through such periods. The most effective thing I find is simply to remember Paul’s words about how the Holy Spirit intercedes for us when we do not pray as we ought, and ask Him to pray with me and for me.

And I make the same request to my Guardian Angel - surely it’s part of his or her job description, no? Sometimes I think I must’ve probably worn out a whole team of angels by now, rather than just one. :blush:


Indeed. :sad_yes: I have spent (and still do, frequently) much time feeling the dryness which you speak of, Sister. Thankfully, it isn’t a constant thing… for me, anyway. But, there are times, that I find myself apologizing to Our Lord… for rushing through my prayers… or for not “feeling” their effects, fully. And I often wonder… is my distraction caused (at least, partly) by the dryness? Or, is the dryness caused by the distractions?

I’ve often heard it said… that in these “dry spells”… God actually draws the soul closer to Him. I don’t understand how this works, but my “understanding” isn’t necessary, for God to make use of my (our) dry spells.

I guess this is where faith comes in? What else can a soul in this kind of distress do? As always, any suggestions from any of you… are greatly appreciated. As are those, in the above replies. I learn so much from all of you. And for that, I’m grateful. :thankyou:

God bless.


The marriage relationship has been used to describe this dryness. In the beginning there is unquenchable fire as the couple spends all there time together. Nothing can interfere. As time rolls on, the relationship changes. The strong marriages are those in which the couple continues to spend time with one another regardless of feeling. Communication grows and love deepens. Passion is replaced with a quiet confidence in the other.
Since God never changes, it is we who change, and change is seldom easy. At what point do we recognize that God is with us even as we scrub pots and pans, or sweep the cobwebs out of the corner?
An earlier post mentioned the desert experience. It is the desert that God can speak to very depths of our hearts. It is in the desert that we acknowledge our total dependence on God.


AWESOME “DC”! This is greatly helpful! God bless!


When I can’t pray, I place (or sometimes in those moments the word may be plunk) myself before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and I just look at Him and sigh…just making the effort to be there, especially when I feel nothing, makes Him happy, I think.

God Bless!
To Jesus, through Mary


That is a beautiful prayer, Little Dove!


When I broke my leg and was experiencing claustrophobia at night because of my splint, just before I totally lost it I mentally placed myself at His feet and grabbed onto His mantle. I felt a glorious peace, and the next thing I knew it was morning.

God is great!

I feel that I have been in the desert for the past several years, and due to stress and worry, prayer was difficult at first. I began with short prayers when I was overcome by worry or stress. My favorite being, “Jesus, I trust in You; cure my distrust.” Or the same prayer but belief or love in place of trust.

The I started praying a decade of the Rosary at a time, trying to place myself in the scene watching Jesus, Mary, the Apostles and imagining what Jesus’ Life means to and for me. A year later I now pray a full Rosary on my 45 minute drive to work. Sometimes I get distracted by meditations, thoughts about my life and I have to finish the Rosary on my way home.

By meditating on the different aspects of Jesus’ life and how it affected those around Him has made me realize that Jesus is with me in the desert or in my splint, in my tears and in my joys–if I only remember it. At first I felt like a crazy person thinking this way, but experiencing the utter frantic panic that night, and several more until they removed the splint and put me in a boot, and then having a total experience of peace replace it–I have no doubts now.

That is what the Body of Christ and abiding in Jesus is all about. It is experiencing the grace of His divine Life instead of shutting Him out. I praise God for my desert, my broken leg, and my diabetes. I pray that you will soon find your way in the desert, too.

In Christ’s peace and joy,



:amen: :blessyou:


when i can’t pray, i just remember Paul’s words; “Therefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then am I strong


Sometimes I feel spiritually dry, like I have nothing to say to Him… I simply can’t pray.
Then I find time to go to Mass. I usually don’t go to Mass every day, but in times like that I simply make it a priority. Then it’s somehow easier to go through that period.


How can we continue on a journey unless we eat? Sometimes we need more energy (food) than at other times. By going to Mass, you allow yourself to be fed through both the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of Eucharist.
When my mother died, I was physically exhausted. By then I knew enough about the grieving process to understand the importance of eating before lying down for a nap. It is when we are spiritually dry, when we are thirsty and hungry, that we most need spiritual food,even if we don’t really feel like it. It is at these times when we need to allow ourselves to be fed.


When you can’t pray,
-do you easily get discouraged and give up?

  • do you make use of prayer tools like soft, relaxing music, spiritual books or devotional statues and icons?
  • do you take a walk and admire nature?
  • do you continue praying in quiet and let God lead you?
    How do you deal with the dryness and aridity?


Although I failed a lot and don’t pray :o. There are times when I can’t pray, I just stared at His face (a printed picture of Him posted in my wall).


I pray while I walk. It is while I walk that I allow the Holy Spirit to sing through me.
I used to run, which I have not done in a long time. Diane Nyad wrote “exercise to exorcise the demons in your life.” Exercise is a way of activating endorphins which help with moods. This is important for anybody who may be prone to depression. Running allows for moving meditation, for allowing the negative thoughts that may be hindering prayer to come to the surface and be released. Depression is repressed anger. There were times when running simply was not enough to let go of the anger or anything else standing in my way due to circumstances beyond my control… Journalling allows me to put into words that which I can not express verbally. It allows me to get in touch with emotions and leads me to listening to how God might have me respond to a given situation. It also records spiritual growth.
Physical exertion allows for deeper relaxation. It is important to stretch. This stretching is a time to come into the quiet, especially if you add a little John Michael Talbot. Currently I do not have any of his CD’s. The cassettes that I owned were among many items that have been lost, stolen, or destroyed.
A perfect time to stretch is at the end of the day, after bathing and just before retiring for the night. Many saints write about abandonment. Place your self before the throne of God, upon His altar (the bed), to be shaped and molded as clay in the hands of the Potter. If we are truly to place ourselves into the Potter’s hands, we need to release all thoughts and concerns of the day, even if it means writing in a journal after physical exertion, taking a relaxing bath or shower. and then handing the remnants to Him to be removed. The physical acts of our daily routine become prayer in and of themselves.
I tend to be independent (another word for loneliness). Sometimes in the midst of our aridity,we need to allow others to love and care for us. When we do that, are we not allowing God to act through the person who prepared the meal, gave the ride, or otherwise provided for our needs?


Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity wrote “let yourself be loved.” I thought that is a beautiful way of expressing that even dryness and abandonement are God’s way of loving and that we should learn to embrace them.

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