Have you had those times when you wake up on a Sunday morning and you’d rather stay home and enjoy a quiet morning without having to get dressed up or talk to anyone else? Or when you know that you need to say your daily prayers, but just can’t get motivated? Or when you do pray, it is dry and dull and seems to offer no spiritual benefit?
Or those times in your life when world or life events make you feel like there is little hope? Where you get fed up with humanity or even other Christians? Or maybe you’ve struggled with doubt or what feels like a lifeless faith – you’re just going through the motions or have considered stopping the motions altogether.
It can be easy to get out of the habits of faith. It’s perhaps for some just as easy to run from it and surrender to cynicism and unbelief. I’ve known many to do both. Indeed, how easy would it be for me or any other person working for the Church to get out of the habit if we weren’t spending most of our days here? To be sure, people who work in and for the Church, lay and clergy alike, suffer dry spells and periods of doubt.
But take heart, the prayers that please God the most are prayers prayed through those dry points of the journey, especially when we don’t want to pray. God is particularly delighted when we keep the faith amidst doubt and pain. And when we do that, we are certain to frustrate the devil.
“It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best….Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.” – C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters