I am struggling with my Faith right now. It seems hard just to pray. I know even saints have "dry spells"- like St. Teresa- but how can I improve or get back to where I was before? Is it possible that God pulls away from us to test us? Or am I trying too hard? I have always wondered what to do when I feel nothing when I pray.
I was feeling "dry" again, and thought I would research this subject a bit more. Much to my surprise, I found out that Mother Teresa had many doubts and questions along her path! This really should not have surprised me, but it did...After all, she was human, and set herself quite a hard and perhaps very lonely path. All she had to go on was Faith:
St. John’s signs of Dark Night of the Senses show that God is asking the soul to let go of self-directed mental prayer. Mother Teresa suffered this demand. She wanted to keep praying, but couldn’t—and worried she was abandoning her spiritual life. Then, just as St. John describes, things went from bad to worse: Darkness spread, and consolations disappeared.
Mother Teresa’s spiritual directors told her God might well be inviting her to deeper union, but it doesn’t seem she understood God’s actions. But even without emotional satisfaction, she spent time alone simply being present to God.
St. John of the Cross writes of a next stage toward mystical union, the Dark Night of the Spirit, when the memory, the intellect and will are purified. Overall, the soul experiences a deeper sense of abandonment, secretly assuaged by the dark contemplation it suffers, and as the theological virtues of faith, hope and love deepen.
The “darkness” of Dark Night comes in part because the soul is blinded by the bright light of wisdom. As it adjusts to the light, it gradually sees past sins and present inabilities. Overall, says St. John, the soul feels as if it is “being undone” and lost in interior darkness.
This is really deep spiritual stuff here, and I am struggling to understand what I am going through...It would be a comfort to know if you out there have your own times of struggle and doubt.
Edited August 28, 2012
Hi, Jaianniah. Absolutely, there are times when God draws back as we seek to draw closer. Have you ever heard of the "Dark Night of the Soul," a poem, treatise, and spiritual expression for what you're describing (link is to Wikipedia). The poem and treatise were written by the Christian mystic, St. John of the Cross. The expression developed because many people could identify with the condition the mystic described.
I have personally experienced such uncomfortable dry spells. Keep your faith and realize that God allows you to experience this sense of God's absence so your faith can grow less reliant on the feelings you've looked to for confirmation. Faith must continue to grow and deepen to remain vital, and we have to put that faith to action for it to become a real part of who we are.
Take things at a comfortable pace, but challenge yourself to stretch your faith to meet the challenge. I suggest keeping a journal on what you're experiencing. Later on, your writings will be a source of inspiration to you in future periods of struggle.
Finally, find encouragement from others who have had similar struggles and emerged from their dry spells stronger and more spiritually mature. "To everything there is a season." This season will pass.
answered 04 Dec '09, 10:19
I don't think that God is actually trying to test us but rather presenting us with challenges that we can use as opportunities to grow. I totally get where your coming from and agree with John that you're probably experiencing a " Dark night of the soul " and this can last for a period of time , not just a night. When we embark on a spiritual quest we are often presented with painful episodes to aid us in our transformation and God can seem very far away. Thanks for the question because I think it's helping me right now so please just know that we're all in this together. We can never get back to where we were, we can only grow on this journey and try to learn from each lesson that is presented to us. You can never lose your connection to God and as John said you will emerge from this spell much stronger. Chin up - You can do it.
If it seems hard to pray, that's because you are mad at God for some reason, or frustrated with Him, or you feel at the moment that you are not worthy to be with Him. He has not separated from you; you have separated yourself from Him. It's not a matter of trying too hard, or not trying hard enough. God just wants you to be with Him.
I suggest you try a simple meditative technique, like sitting quietly and comfortably and focusing on your breathing. The idea is to completely empty your mind of all thought for about 15 minutes. When a thought occurs, just let it float away in your breath. You should experience a feeling of inner peace if you do this. This is how you get close to God again.
You may not get back to where you were before. Instead, you will most likely arrive at a better place than you were. This is what God wants. Sometimes things seem more difficult just before they get better. I don't know what your life situation is, but whatever the reason you have separated from God, God says that it is OK to come back to Him and let Him help you move through it to a better place.
I have gone through this plenty of times, it feels as though we are abandoned but we are never abandoned remember in Psalms it said God said even if I make my bed in Hell I am there. I think of the story of What dreams May Come and how the woman was stuck in depression and could not even see the love that Robin had for her. Their vibrations were way different, hers were low his were high, we get to these low places and can not see the love and connection we feel we had lost it.
Something I learned through BANABU is "high energy wins", here is an exercise to increase your energy to a higher vibration. Everyday reach up high above you and look up, imagine you are trying to reach the clouds, the sun, the moon or the stars, I like the Sun best for this myself. Hold this pose you will look much like the Egyptian sun pose you see at the side of temple walls. Now you can hold this pose or do it like a dance and move around in circles and stretch on your toes like you are really trying to reach that sun, maybe even jumping up having a good time reaching.
This exercise will elevate your energy and may lift you back into that spiritual feeling place where you feel you can talk with God again on a daily basis.
There are times in our lives for what ever reason you may feel as though you are completely left alone that God is not with you. But that is where your faith must kick in stronger and hold on to the fact that reguardless of what is happen you personally hold on to the thought that God does love you, that God has all power, that God is with you, and that you must ask him to let his light shine as you make your steps for you know as you walk down this tunnel of dread and you know his light will be at the end of the tunnel that he can light your way that you may follow the path you are walking now.
The devil wants you to think that God does not love you and does not care about you. We all have our low moments of much doubt, stress, fear, or whatever.
When it gets where you can't pray your spirit will intercede and pray for you. Sometimes you can't say anything but "Lord Have Mercy on Me" or "Lord Help Me" that is sufficient and enought for the time.
Even Job had to go through this and deeply probably more than what you are feeling now and it was not because of something he had done but it was because God was so proud of him. I am paraphasing it below:
God called an meeting of the sons of God
God ask satan what are you doing
satan said going too and forth
God said you seen my man Job
he said yes
God said what do you think
satan said well you have him well protected
I was not paying any attention to him
God said look how he loves me
God was very proud of Job like an father proud of his son and braging kind of for how Job loved him so and did right.
Yes, sometimes it is an test, an lesson, maybe being proud of you, evil trying to trick you, you pulling away from God, you just are not as connected for what ever reason. But remember whatever the reason that God does Love you very much and his arms are extend outward and open wide for you. Walk on up in God arms and feel his love.
You need to picture yourself doing it in your minds eye and picture feeling his radiate love all around you and than you will know he was there all along you just could not feel it. You were out of touch with him but he was not out of touch with you.
You know when we think we can do all things by our selves and fail to acknowledge that we get all of this power from God/Jesus when we leave them out and we are all into our selves of we done this than we have left God out of our lives or out of the picture. We must bring him back into our lives by acknowledging him and continuing to have our talks with him and thank him for all he has done for us. Sometimes we might not see things too be thankful for we may be so stressed or depressed; but thank him anyway look and you will find many things but you will only see a few for now.
Don't leave God/Jesus out of our lives it is so important. With all of this new age, reality creation, metaphysical, quantum physics, we sometimes forget that yes God did give us the power to be co-creators of our lives but that he is still the Creator and wants to be reconize as such. He wants us to continue to love him and have him involved in our lives and he wants us to be in graditude mode with him as well for all he has done for us. Look around and you will find it again we all have went through these things probably many many times. But through each times our faith gets stronger if we allow it too.
listen, to always be connected with god means that you must always be surrounded with positive energy, ALWAYS. as soon as this tends to slip away then so does god, because you have to remmebr god is PURE postive enrgy. so 4 you 2 be connected to him u must also PURIFY yourself with that same type of energy. and to do so as a human 24/7?? its nearly IMPOSSIBLE! that is why we ALWAYS slip away. even jesus himself 4 40 days was tempted by the devil (or you can say surrounded by negative energy). and he was the SON of god. so as you can say to ALWAYS be in a positve enrgy field IS ( on this earth anways) an IMPOSSIBILTY! but as soon as you start slippin hit the prayers, meditation, and affirmations and truly try and purify your energy to gods level so you may connect with him again.
answered 07 Feb '10, 17:48
We all go through this...loss of faith.. but be strong in God and never give up hope. He is there i promise even though it feels nearly impossible to feel him..he is there. I know because Iv already been there but the best advice I can give you is take the time to get on your knees and pray. Tell him you feel empty, dry and nothing that you've tried has been able to fill that void. Ask him to reach in to your life and fill you with the Holy Ghost. Belive me its the most amazing feeling you could ever feel. To feel his presence and his power, his love, his mercy and his affections for you. He loves you. :)
answered 31 Jul '11, 00:51
maybe it is to test your faith or to make you grow from the experiance. another possibility is that you confuse faith and belief? i have faith that you will find the answer experiance and enjoy.
answered 01 Aug '11, 03:44
God can never desert you. It is imposible for you are made in the liknes and image of God. God breathed a part of himself into you to give you life. God is, was and allways will be so it is imposible for God to desert you. You are never alone. Never.
What has happened here is that you have lost your ability to hear God and to see what God is showing you. This of course happens to all of us sometimes and than we think that God has deserted us. Not so for every single prayer is answered and the answer is there instantly if only you could hear and see what God is trying to say and show you. To hear God listen to your intuition for Gods language is symbolic and that still small voice people talk about is actualy your intuition. To see what God is showing you look around you do some things keep croping up time and again. Take note and learn how to read the signs. You will find and intuit the answer to every prayer when you learn to do this.
You say you lost faith. Yes that can happen when things arn't going our way or we have problems. Sometimes it happens due to depression or some other illness. There are a multitude of reasons why this happens but it would be a good idea to make sure you eat healthy and get enough rest.
Remember when things look bad that won't last forever even if we feel its the end of the world things will be good again. Your faith will come back again and you will smile and be happy again.
If you feel that nothing helps please seek healp as there is help for everything and everyone out there. Talk to someone about this and if you dont get the desired outcome talk to someone else untill you are satisfied.
God is with you as you are a part of God and you are loved. good luck.
answered 01 Aug '11, 09:14
Faith is an illusion.
answered 31 Jul '11, 00:58
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