Overcoming Spiritual Dryness

Overcoming Spiritual Dryness

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I remember a day in college when I held a friend's hand and listened. Her face was nearly emotionless, yet her words told of deep frustration. "I can hardly pray," she said. "I feel like my prayers are hitting the ceiling and bouncing off." I prayed for her that day. I prayed that God's comfort would return; that she would be aware of His presence. My heart was able to connect with the Lord in a way hers couldn't that day. In the years that followed, she would return the favor many times.

On TrueU, author Matthew John offers some good thoughts on moving past spiritual dryness -- and encouraging those who may be struggling. He talks about the catalyst 2 Timothy 1:7 has been in his own spiritual growth: "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." I particularly liked what he had to say about accepting spiritual power.

I don't speak Greek, but I can't help but think Timothy must have been struggling: Sure, he was called to spread the gospel, but Timothy was young and surrounded by a pantheistic culture. Paul reminds his mentee that God's will for him is not that he be timid, but instead that he be assertive, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

That's an exhortation I need sometimes.

I'm a pretty laid back kind of guy. Oftentimes I just assume it's OK for me to sit back and let things happen. God's convicted me that this kind of attitude just won't cut it.
God has taught me not only that I ought to reach out to other young men, but also that I'm able.

I mean, what happens when I get into a relationship? I'm going to have to step up, so to speak, because I believe that, as a man, Christ calls me to be the spiritual leader of that relationship. As Jason Boyett points out in another Men's Hall article, Marriage Prep 101 (Whether You've Met Her Yet or Not)," I need to be preparing for marriage now.

For me, that means learning not only how to lead, but understanding God wants me to.

Part of being spiritually "wet" is engaging with the process of faith. As you read the Bible, what do you feel God wants you to change? How is He urging you to grow? Whom is He prompting you to reach out to? Making these discoveries adds vigor and substance to your walk with Christ and can combat feelings of spiritual monotony. Simply taking action may boost your spiritual enthusiasm. But engaging requires self-discipline. John writes:

I do not do mornings, which means I don't get up early to do devotions or whatever you want to call them. But a few weeks ago I decided it was time I give the morning quiet time thing a try. It's been a big adjustment for this self-identified night owl, getting up at 6:26 a.m. every single weekday morning. I have to say, though, the comfort I feel from having started my day with God is worth going to bed a little earlier. It's worth planning ahead so I can give the first part of my day — my "first fruits," as it were — to God.

Overcoming spiritual dryness is not easy. It requires commitment to seek the Lord daily and engage with His Word and the people around you. And when you can't, seek out a Christian brother or sister who can take your hand and help you.

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  • Comment by  rachael:

    Suzanne, I like your last line. It helps me to meet with someone every 2 weeks or so to discuss Scripture; we're trying to read through the Bible this year.

    Trial/heartbreak/despair, and a thirst for knowledge are also good motivators...

  • Comment by  yipeng:

    I have some related thoughts on my blog that I thought might be worth sharing here :)

    markedbyfaith.blogspot.com/.../too-closed-to-god.html

  • Comment by  rachael:

    (edit on comment 1: I'd like to add thirst for transformation/renewal into the motivator category...)

  • Comment by  JohnD:

    "It's worth planning ahead so I can give the first part of my day — my "first fruits," as it were — to God."

    If you're not a morning person, perhaps you should consider doing your devotions at a time of day when you are more mentally alert. Your mornings may be your first fruits, but not your best fruits.

  • Comment by  bb:

    What do you do if you have to work starting at 10:30 pm therefore can not get to bed till 11:30 pm and sometimes even later. Getting up at 6:30 so I can do a quiet time before my other job isn't really an option since lack of sleep typically causes more problems both physically but also spiritually.

  • Comment by  rachael:

    BB (5),

    Check out Athena's suggestions (comment 23) in response to the "Invisible Work" post. You might be able to integrate your quiet time into your work a bit.

    Perhaps you can listen to the Bible or pray on the way to your work? Maybe during your lunch breaks? Can you glance at a verse once in awhile as you do your work?

    Just some ideas...

  • Comment by  Andrea:

    my commet/ Question  was this I am questioning God about life and things like that like why dose he allow people to commit suicide and things like that and a question that I have is how do you stay strong in ur faith

  • Comment by  rachael:

    Andrea,

    As humans we'll never fully grasp the answers to all the tough questions. This world is full of sin and its consequences. I'd recommend you to first remember and reflect upon the basics of faith. Remember that "the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 6:23). Hold salvation close to your heart.  Cling to the One (Jesus) who can save from eternal death. He is our only hope.

    Life is messy. As you remember the One who saves, remember to cry out to Him when life is tough, or for you, when not understanding the tough questions is bothering you. Read the Psalms. Notice the sincerity of their prayers - crying out to God in times of grief, remembering who God is and what He has done. You may want to seek to imitate the patterns you see, and adapt the prayers you see to your circumstance.

    You may want to seek out mentors or people strong in the faith to help you as you struggle through your questions. They may have thought about them before and have insight that may help you come to peace with some of the toughies.

    Read the Bible. As you find verses that help (for example, Rom. 8:28) you, reflect upon them frequently. It may help to memorize them. Claim the promises -- try to actually do them and understand they really are the words of life. The easy thing is to view them as nice words. It's more challenging, but more effective, to put them into practice. Try out Philippians 4:6-7.

    Guess in sum my advice would be to cling to Christ, reflect upon salvation, read the Bible, pray, and seek community (where you can discuss the faith and your questions) with a group, mentor, or someone with a solid grasp of faith...

    Peace be with you, Andrea! Remember that God can use challenging periods of our life to make us stronger.

    1 Peter 1:6-7:

    "In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith - more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire - may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."

    They're not just words...they're words from God!

  • Comment by  Holylovedk:

    I have been saved for many years and on fire for the Lord. I am now feeling like I have absolutely no desire to read, like my prayers mean nothing and aren't going anywhere. I know that this is a trick to get me to not do these things, but this is so very hard for me. I don't want to feel like this anymore. Help!!!

  • Comment by  Susan:

    jz too many clouded agenda in life that you really get yourself tired out...and don't know where to start and when to pick it up again...life is really a mess...my eldest daughter suffering from a blood disorder & on few occassions were life threatening and my youngest and myself down with thyroid disease and now my sis undergoing a brain tumor operation and doctor said 50% chance of survival as the cancer has turned aggressive...not only financially drain but emotionally and spiritually also drain...life is really a mess...like living is a desert...I need water Lord...help...

  • Comment by  Seun:

    I've been born again for two years but i'm unable to receive the baptism of the holy ghost despite several attempts

  • Comment by  FrTulimelliJojappaJoseph:

    Dear loving friends in Christ Jesus,

    One of the root causes of spiritual dryness is neglect of prayer. One of the theologians Yves Conger seems to have said about the priests and religious: "The Crisis in vocation begins with the paralysis of knees". Let us pray as psalmist prayed in  Psalm 42 "As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, o God". My being thirsts for God, the living God. When can I go and see the face of God?".

    Let us pray and overcome our spiritual dryness. Thank you

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