I have had several folks ask me about getting through a “dry season” in their spiritual lives. They feel as though God is distant, and their prayers seemingly bounce off the ceiling unheard by our Father. With all that’s going on in our world right now, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and far from God. And if that’s where you find yourself, you are not alone. The Bible is full of those who had amazing highs, and devastating lows in their spiritual walk (David and Paul come to mind immediately). You are safe, and you are loved in a “dry season”, but we don’t want to stay in that place!
Spiritual formation practices using Scripture and the traditions of the Church can help us survive a dry spiritual season, and come out stronger on the other side.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 NIV
Paul knew a thing or two about difficult seasons. At times he was so overjoyed about the work and mission Christ has set before him. At other times he was completely depressed with feelings of abandonment. To the church in Thessolonica facing severe persecution, he reminds them to pray continually.
The Didache (a 1st century Christian treatise) also calls on followers of Christ to pray the Lord’s Prayer three times per day. This is a truly transformative practice! I’ve mentioned to several of you that I have begun reciting the Lord’s Prayer every time I wash my hands throughout the day. Stoplights are also a good opportunity to recite this.
Some choose to pray the Psalms, or the “Jesus Creed” (Mark’s account of the Greatest Command). Whenever that feeling of frustration, or overwhelm sneaks in, once again repeat these words, audibly or silently. However you choose to do it, having the words on your mind and heart is what counts. These practices transform us from the inside out, and move our hearts and minds into closer relationship with God.
I leave you with the words of Scott McKnight on reciting the prayers of Scripture:
“Nearly everybody goes through spiritual dryness in their prayers. But remember this: we pray even when we don’t feel like it, we pray when we don’t want to, we pray even when the words don’t seem to make sense. Why? Because in those prayers the Spirit of God is interceding for us, and taking our times of dryness and sending arrows of communication into the throne room of God where Christ becomes our intercessor, and the Spirit interceding with us in our hearts.”Scott McKnight, Kingdom Roots Podcast – KR32