Praying in a Spiritual Desert
The question isn’t will you go through a spiritual desert, you will.
The question is what will you do about it?
As a young Christian, I was knocked off stride the first time I went through a season of spiritual dryness. When I surrendered my life to God one of my greatest delights was enjoying a sense of His presence.
But one day it was gone. God was gone, and I felt like I was going it alone.
I racked my brain trying to remember some serious sin I had committed, or some devastating lie I had believed. But I got nothing. Confused, I was certain I had to be the only person to ever go through such a spiritually lonely season.
One of my mature Christian friends asked me what was wrong. So, I told him.
He responded, “Oh, that happens to all of us. When you are a new Christian, God’s presence is all around and it seems like He answers every prayer ‘Yes!’ But one day, He withdraws the sense of His presence so that you to learn to walk by faith, not feelings. He has not left you, even though it feels like it. He is just helping you grow up.”
Then he looked my eye, “The issue is what you do now. You can press on or fall back. If you hang in there, eventually, your awareness of God’s presence will return.”
I felt better and tried to press on in pursing God by reading the Bible and praying. But I still felt like I was praying into a big, black hole of nothingness.
Not long after that, I was reading Hebrews and verse six caught my attention.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
The first and the last phrase caught my attention – “But without faith it is impossible to please Him … He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” So, I decided to pursue God by faith, trusting that He would eventually reward me by letting me “find” Him.
I went into the closet in my bedroom and closed the door. It was dark in the closet. I could not see anything, hear anything, or feel anything. I prayed what I felt like a bold prayer.
“Okay, God. I can’t see You. hear You. touch You. smell You. taste You. feel You.
I get it. You are hiding from me.
I am going to pray anyway.
I am praying by faith, not by feelings. You promise to never leave us or forsake us. You said that You reward those who diligently seek You. So here I am, by faith, diligently seeking You.”
And before I could get the next words of praise out of my mouth, I felt it. It was the refreshing splash of a drop of God’s presence on my barren, dry soul. As I prayed, the presence of God increased drop after drop until it was as though that closet was flooded.
I wish I could say that it has always been that way when I tried to pray my way out of a dry time, but that is not the case. Often, I pray by faith and feel just as dry and parched as I did before I started. But I have learned that eventually, our Heavenly Father will say, “Enough.” He will keep His promise and reward us with the treasure of Himself.
If you are in a season of spiritual dryness, do not get discouraged. Pray on by faith and not feelings and God will reward you with His presence.