The “Brave New World” of the 21st Century requires a “Brave New Discipleship” strategy.

Refresh Your Dry Times With God

Posted on: August 08, 2017


It is generally understood that one of the spiritual disciplines a Christian should have is to set aside a block of time each day – or most days – to pray, read the Word and cultivate one’s relationship with God.

But what do we do when we don’t feel like spending time with God? Do we only spend time with God when we feel like it? Do we allow our emotions to call the shots in our walk with the Lord? Do we go ahead and go through the motions even though our heart is not in it?

The reality is, probably no one always “feels” like spending time with God. Our spiritual warmth usually ebbs and flows. Some days we may feel spiritually in tune with God and want to spend time with Him, while other days we may feel spiritually dry, distracted, discouraged or even defeated.

Personally, my greatest challenges in spending regular time with the Lord are fatigue and distraction. Sometimes I am so tired I don’t feel like spending time with God, and other times I feel so much pressure for all the things I have to get done that day that I can hardly make myself carve out time to spend with the Lord. And even if I do carve out the time – I am sometimes there in body but not in spirit.

In times like that, I do three things:

  1. Remind myself of truth.There is always time to do the will of God. This is an obvious truth that often escapes us in the press of life. Spending regular focused time with God is something that Christians need to do to keep their spiritual life healthy and growing, and therefore, as a general rule, God will allow us to get the other necessary things done in the remaining time.  While there may be days in which circumstances get out of control and we are not able to have a traditional “quiet time,”  we must still carve out sufficient time with Him on most days to keep our relationship healthy and growing.
  2. Look at it from God’s perspective. In his book, Prayer, Does It Make Any Difference, Philip Yancey muses on whether or not we should pray only when we feel like it. He concludes that God is more pleased with our prayer when we don’t feel like praying than He is when we do feel like it. He speculates that it takes greater faithfulness to pray when we don’t feel like praying than when we do, and therefore, God is pleased with our faithfulness.
  3. Rely on written prayers and spiritual resources. For many years, I have used written prayers and other written spiritual resources to enrich my daily time with the Lord. I find that when I am so tired or distracted that it is difficult for me to have quality time with the Lord, using these resources helps me grab myself by the nap of the neck and take my reluctant mind through a time of personal worship and mental renewal.

It is also encouraging to me to know that we are not alone. Many famous people have struggled greatly with prayer and spending time with God. Henri Nouwen, when he was on the faculty at Yale, converted a walk-in closet into a prayer closet. He said that the simple fact that he was in the closet meant that he was praying. He might have a thousand things to think about while he was in there, but the fact that he was sitting in that physical place meant he was praying. He forced himself to stay there for 15 minutes. He did his best to center his mind and clear it of distracting thoughts and get down to prayer. But if after 15 minutes he hadn’t entirely been successful, he would say, “Lord this was my prayer, even all this confusion. Now I’m going back into the world.”

Next week, I will give you one of my special written prayers, created with spiritual resources that have been part of the church for many hundreds of years. When I am particularly frazzled, or when I want a special time with the Lord, I read/recite this special­­­­ spiritual resource that not only links me with the Lord, but also with our spiritual ancestors from the early church on whose shoulders we can stand to reach higher in our relationship with God.

For this week, we can begin to refresh our dry times with God by reminding ourselves that there is always time to do the will of God, by looking at it from God’s perspective, who is pleased when we come to Him even when we don’t feel like it, and by relying on written prayers and resources to guide and refresh us, taking us to higher places than we could go on our own.

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