Spiritual Dry Spells

The ignorable God

One of the things that bothered me most when I was first exploring religion was the fact that God is invisible. As I was reading up on Christianity, struggling with concepts I didn’t understand, I would occasionally think in exasperation, “You know, God could make this really easy and just appear to each one of us individually and settle all of this once and for all!” It seemed so much more efficient for God to do that rather than mess around with all this messy organized religion stuff. I eventually understood that God’s... Read More

The greatest nothing I ever felt

When I first stepped into the chapel at my Christ Renews His Parish retreat this weekend, I felt a sense of nervous anticipation. My eyes gradually adjusted to the candle-lit room as we all filed into the pews for a moment of Adoration, and I gazed up at the monstrance on the altar. The movement of the swaying candlelight lent an ethereal feel to the room, and the ancient sounds of Gregorian chant lifted us out of the building off of I-35 in twenty-first century America and took us to some place where time and place were irrelevant and only God... Read More

9 Tips for Spiritual Dry Spells

It seems like a lot of people I know are going through spiritual dry spells lately, feeling apathetic about their relationship with God and/or feeling like God’s voice is silent during a difficult time. In case it’s helpful to anyone, I thought I’d post a list of some practical tips I’ve heard on the subject that I learned during my own times of spiritual dryness: 1. Make sure you’re not doing anything to block out God’s voice As I’ve talked about before, my conversion started in a spiritual dry spell;... Read More

More thoughts on spiritual dry spells

After my last post highlighting a great email I got about dark nights of the soul and spiritual dry spells, I received this comment which I also thought was worth sharing since it offers another important perspective to consider. I had to smile when I read it, because these are definitely areas that I need to consider when evaluating the possible causes of my own recent spiritual dry spell: I think a much safer and more useful approach to such dry periods is to take “the dark night of the soul” or “the dark night of the senses”... Read More

Why does God allow us to have spiritual dry spells?

A few days ago I got an email from a kind reader named Matthew that I found so insightful and helpful that I asked for permission to re-post it here. This is one of the most clear, concise introductions to the topic of spiritual dry spells I’ve ever read. He writes: I saw you mention a dry spell in prayer recently where you are no longer receiving the normal consolations that you did shortly after converting. This is actually quite common as you no doubt know. But what a lot of people don’t know is the theology behind it. I’ve... Read More

On being loved: A thought on spiritual dry spells

GUEST POST BY STEVE G. A while back fellow convert, regular commenter and occasional guest blogger Steve G. emailed me with some thoughts on a long period of darkness that he experienced. His reflection was so interesting and thought-provoking that I just couldn’t keep it to myself, so I asked if I could share it here. (For those of you who aren’t familiar with Steve G., I highly recommend checking out some of his other writing here.) Here is what he wrote: ——————– It’s amazing, but the... Read More

Time to wake up!

Tuesday night we went to a dinner put on by the diocese to celebrate the beginning of Advent. It was such a nice evening: a wine and cheese reception (with, in my oenophile husband’s estimation, a very well-chosen selection of wines), a delicious dinner, then a talk about Advent by our bishop, all on a cold night within the cozy confines of the diocesan retreat center. I had expected the bishop’s speech to be a dry, academic overview of Advent; instead, it was a surprisingly refreshing call to action to “Wake up!” and prepare... Read More

The Saint Diet

This post is part of a series about re-thinking my relationship to food, which I call “The Saint Diet” to remind myself that the ultimate goal is deeper union with God. You can read all the posts on the subject here (scroll down to see them all). A couple weeks ago I was talking to my spiritual director about my slack prayer habits, and I happened to mention in passing how tired I am all the time. Interestingly, she wanted to focus more on addressing the tiredness situation than the specifics of the prayer issues, pointing out that... Read More

Five second prayer

Getting into a prayer habit after a life of atheism is no easy thing. Up until my late twenties, I’d never said a single prayer in my life. I tried to follow advice like, “Start by committing to only five minutes of prayer per day!” but I actually managed to fail at that. Maybe it’s that it was a brand new habit or that I have some strong ADD tendencies, but my efforts at five minutes of prayer tended to go something like this: Is this thing on? No, kidding. Hi, Lord, it’s me. I guess you knew that though. Anyway, I... Read More

AREWP Week 34: Prayer and spiritual dry spells

[AREWP stands for A Reckless Experiment With Prayer.] Back in the first few months of 2008, a theme that I wrote about frequently was my “Reckless Experiment With Prayer,” which I originally talked about in this post. The idea was that I’d structure my daily activities around prayer times instead of vice versa. I called it “reckless” because I was supposedly soooooo busy with three children in diapers that I didn’t have a single extra minute to spare for prayer, and the “experiment” was that I would... Read More

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