Dryness in Prayer

Ideally, prayer should lead to feelings of comfort and to an awareness of God’s loving presence in our lives.

Sometimes when we pray though, instead of noticing a growth of love, joy, or mercy, we may feel selfish, discouraged or neglected by God.

This dryness in prayer is one of the difficulties that faithful Catholics will encounter in their prayer life. Periods of dryness are not unexpected.

Sometimes God uses dryness to help us to focus more on Him instead of focusing on what we are asking for in our prayer.

Catholics should trust that God is always listening and always working even when we don’t feel it.

Sometimes prayer can be dry:

Finding it hard to pray:

Another difficulty, especially for those who sincerely want to pray, is dryness. Dryness belongs to contemplative prayer when the heart is separated from God, with no taste for thoughts, memories, and feelings, even spiritual ones. This is the moment of sheer faith clinging faithfully to Jesus in his agony and in his tomb. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if dies, it bears much fruit.” If dryness is due to the lack of roots, because the word has fallen on rocky soil, the battle requires conversion.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 2731

Because of us or because of God:

Times of consulation and desolation:

When God seems far away:

Barrenness makes us think of Good Friday, at night, and Holy Saturday, the whole day: Jesus is not there, He is in the tomb; Jesus is dead: we are alone. And this is the “mother-thought” of barrenness. Often we do not know what the reasons for barrenness are: it may depend on ourselves, but also on God, Who permits certain situations in the exterior or interior life. Or, at times, it may be a headache or a sick feeling that stops us from entering into prayer. Often we do not really know the reason. Spiritual teachers describe the experience of faith as a continuous alternation between times of consolation and desolation; there are times when everything is easy, while others are marked by great weightiness.

Pope Francis, General Audience, May 19, 2021

Focusing on God, not on feelings:

The most powerful kind of prayer:

Being honest with God:

“A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path and was trampled, and the birds of the sky ate it up. Some seed fell on rocky ground, and when it grew, it withered for lack of moisture. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. And some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew, it produced fruit a hundredfold.” After saying this, He called out, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.” Then his disciples asked Him what the meaning of this parable might be. He answered, “Knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of God has been granted to you; but to the rest, they are made known through parables so that ‘they may look but not see, and hear but not understand.’ This is the meaning of the parable. The seed is the word of God. Those on the path are the ones who have heard, but the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts that they may not believe and be saved. Those on rocky ground are the ones who, when they hear, receive the word with joy, but they have no root; they believe only for a time and fall away in time of trial. As for the seed that fell among thorns, they are the ones who have heard, but as they go along, they are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life, and they fail to produce mature fruit. But as for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance.”

Luke 8: 5-15

Responding with perseverence and humililty:

Desolation is always temporary:

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

Without God, you don’t make sense:

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